Marken Michel is one of many wideouts in a particularly deep receiving corps competing for an Eagles roster spot this offseason. Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor have already carved out spots, and the team added DeSean Jackson and rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in a trade and the draft, respectively.
Michel first signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2016 as an undrafted free agent before being waived. He then joined the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. Michel won the CFL West Division’s Rookie of the Year award and, in two seasons, totaled 72 receptions for 1,215 yards and eight touchdowns in only 24 games. His 2018 season was cut short by a broken scapula, but Michel still managed to cheer the Stampeders to victory in the CFL’s Grey Cup.
Having experienced success in the CFL, Michel conceded that he received the Eagles’ contract offer with hesitance.
“I wasn’t mad, but I was like ‘Man, I don’t know,’ because I kind of felt like I had a good situation up there in Canada,” he said. “It’s crazy because I didn’t tell anybody when I signed [with the Eagles].”
Not only did he avoid telling any friends or family, but he left them — including his younger brother, Patriots running back Sony Michel — to find out about his signing via Twitter, a decision that didn’t thrill those close to him.
“I don’t want the spotlight,” he explained. “I like to keep things to myself, and then when everybody found out, it kind of went crazy. But I just was like, ‘Man, God opened a door. Let me go see what I can do with this.’”
Averse to attention as he might be, his standing on the fringes of the Eagles’ receiving corps is hardly glamorous. Nevertheless, he’ll certainly have to catch some eyes if he wants to be in contention for one of the limited roster spots later this summer.
During his afternoon press conference Wednesday, coach Doug Pederson spoke of the value of versatility for players trying to make a strong impression. Michel, like fellow wide receiver and former University of Houston quarterback Greg Ward, has experience under center from his high school days and liked the idea of being a part of some trick plays.
At practice Wednesday, Michel took the field to run plays with Carson Wentz at quarterback. Wentz found Michel on a corner route before he made a lightning-fast cut inside to pull away from the defense and find the end zone. Reflecting on the play, Michel downplayed his efforts, joking that receivers could run routes blindfolded and still get hit in the hands by Wentz’s passes.
Some might mistake Michel’s humility for passivity, but he is still assertive.
“I’ve always been confident in myself. I’ve always been confident in my ability,” Michel said. “Like I said, God blessed me, and I don’t take that for granted.”