K’Von Wallace spent the majority of his summer on Clemson’s campus in a mostly private gym, preparing for his rookie season with Zoom meetings and workouts with a personal trainer.
It wasn’t what he envisioned for his first offseason in the NFL, but it’s the hand he and the rest of the league’s rookies were dealt. Wallace, the Clemson defensive back the Eagles took in the fourth round of the NFL draft, is about a week removed from reporting for this summer’s training camp.
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- How will COVID-19 precautions affect Doug Pederson, Eagles’ ability to evaluate, build roster?
On the same day that three of Wallace’s new teammates were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Virginia native explained why he is taking the league’s coronavirus safety protocols so seriously.
“I have a family back home that’s counting on me to do my job,” Wallace said during a Wednesday news conference. “Being sick will limit that. The number one thing you want to be in the league is available, so I’m trying to make sure I’m available at all times. I’m going to do everything I can to limit those opportunities that will keep me from being able to be available.”
Wallace’s availability during the next few weeks will be paramount. After the pandemic wiped out rookie minicamps and OTAs, rookies are further behind than usual heading into training camp.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson hasn’t ruled out playing members of this year’s class, but he has acknowledged the challenges rookies will face with the limited practice time before the season opener.
“As coaches, we have to get our young players caught up extremely fast,” Pederson said Monday. “I will tell you this: We had a really good offseason, as virtual as it was, with the meetings. We spent some time virtually with our rookies this past week, and these guys are in a really good place mentally. Now, it’s all about taking it to grass, seeing what they know, and then leaning on these guys as much as we can throughout training camp.”
Like Pederson, Wallace isn’t ready to break out the red shirts for his draft classmates.
“Every single day, even with or without Coach, we’re meeting virtually, we’re talking about the playbook, how we can backpedal better, how we can better high-point the ball,” he said. “These guys that I came in with are special. We’re like brothers already, and we stay connected every single day, just meeting and getting that playbook down pat.”
Wallaceand the Eagles arrived at the NovaCare Complex to find a new mural paying tribute to Kobe Bryant. “Kobe’s 10 rules” are listed outside the locker room.
Wallace, who said when he was drafted that Bryant was his idol, said the mural gives him extra motivation.