Eagles wide receiver, Jason Avant, is the longest-tenured offensive skill position player on the team. Drafted out of Michigan in 2006, Avant came to Philadelphia after a great career with Wolverines. Over the last seven seasons, Avant has proven to be a reliable special teams player and a vital safety valve for Eagles quarterbacks across the middle. Still, with a new coaching staff in town, the public's perception is that Avant's roster spot is on shaky ground.
As a member of what many would deem as a talented wide receiver group, Avant knows that he will have to compete for catches with talent that is both younger and faster. However, the Michigan alum is ready to prove he can get it done."I think it's all about your mindset," said Avant, who has caught 259 passes over seven season with the Eagles. "You can't worry about what happened in the past, you gotta perform today. That's how I approached (competition) with Coach (Andy) Reid. I went out like I was a free agent every camp and every offseason and that's the way I play."
The veteran knows that talented, young players like Arrelious Benn and Damaris Johnson are nipping at his heels for the starting slot job, but even in a league that values youth over experience, Avant knows he can win the competition."I realize that in the NFL, it's borrowed time for everyone, so I just make sure I am head-and-shoulders above those that come in and play behind me," said Avant. "I try my best to compete, but at the same time, help those guys to become the best player (that) they can be."
Over his career, Avant has caught passes from Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick and Nick Foles, while gaining nearly 3,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Chicago native believes production like that does not come without speed. "If you look down my qualities, it's strong and quick," said Avant, who has had his athletic prowess come into question over the years. "I've always been quick. You can't go across the middle, unless you're quick."
Avant is dealing with a new coach for the first time since he was drafted in 2006, but he does not view a new scheme as a big deal. "Receiver is receiver," said Avant. "The tempo is faster, there's a couple new concepts, (but) offense is offense."
Avant seems to be more than open to his competition under Chip Kelly. And while he has been overlooked by most fans, Avant possess the blocking ability that Kelly admires. While Avant may not be Desean Jackson or even Reggie Brown when it comes to speed, he does seem to be confident in his ability to get open. As for now though, only time with tell whether the veteran will be a fit for the new regime.