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The Comeback of Corey Clement
He’s ready. So are we.
By Dave Spadaro

This isn’t a time to feel sorry for himself, or to wonder just what in the hell has happened in these last 2 calendar years, when the pride of South Jersey – Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement – went from a hero in Super Bowl LII to a player on the NFL streets. If there is any player anywhere at any time who understands the cruel nature of the “Not For Long,” it’s Clement.

“You understand that you don’t have any security in this league,” says Clement, a 2013 graduate of Glassboro High School who ran for 6,245 yards, scored 34 rushing touchdowns and 90 total touchdowns for the Bulldogs before attending Wisconsin. He was signed by the Eagles following the 2017 NFL Draft, made the team and became one of the stars in the history-making season. In the Super Bowl alone, he caught 4 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown, and played a part in the spectacular “Philly Special” in the 41-33 win over New England.

“He’s a guy,” says Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, “who very well could have been the MVP of that game.”

Clement was the toast of South Jersey in the months that followed the win and he expected his on-field career to take off after his rookie season. A reality check hit Clement in 2018 as his season ended with a knee injury 11 games into the year, and then in 2019 Clement played in just 4 games before a shoulder injury KO’d him for the season. Last March, the Eagles released Clement and he had a chance to sign with any team in the league.

Nothing clicked, and a few weeks later Clement re-signed with the Eagles. Here he is, back to where it all started in the NFL. There are no guarantees for Clement, who is living in the nether region known as the NFL’s fringe. The Eagles have turned the running game over to second-year man Miles Sanders, and third-year player Boston Scott is an electrifying second option. Can Clement regain his game and make the team as a third running back and special teams standout?

“At this point, I’ve dealt with injuries, but I know how to overcome them,” he says. “During the process, you find out who you are and what you’re made of. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on ‘How can I propel myself to the next season?’ I’ve had a lot of down time. It’s been tough. I’ve missed out on a lot. I needed to re-focus, revamp myself and get ready for the third pitch.”

“I’ve had two pitches already. I’m ready for that third pitch. I’m not striking out.”

Clement has tried remaking his body through the years. He played at a body weight of about 227 pounds as a rookie and trimmed down to about 208 pounds to gain quickness over the next few years, but the injuries made him re-think his approach. Maybe, he believes, keeping his natural body weight of 220 pounds is the right place to be in 2020. “That way,” he says, “I can have power and speed with just a little bit of agility. I have to accept my body type and what feels best. This feels best for me.”

The months of quarantine were challenging for Clement. He searched high and low for any open fields. He did his cardio workouts where he could. He contacted personal trainers. He found a way.

Now he has to get a job.

“I think I fit right in,” Clement says of the Eagles’ picture at running back. “I’m one of the most experienced guys we have. I know what it takes to play at a high level and stay healthy. I’ve grown up and gained a new perspective through the two seasons. They’ve been tough. Going through the pandemic has been tough for everybody and I think that makes everybody re-adjust their thoughts and what they have and what they need.”

“I know the business of the NFL. Nothing has been handed to me from the first day. I know nothing is going to last forever. I need to take care of my body. My body is my gem, my diamond and I have to keep it in tip-top shape and keep everything right.”

Two strikes down, Clement digs in. No matter what happens, he’s going to take a mighty swing at the next pitch, which he knows could be his last in Philadelphia, a city he owned only 2 years ago.

June 2020
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