UPDATE: Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said "I feel pretty safe" to say that Jeremy Maclin can play in St. Louis on opening day, Sept. 11. "That's our goal."
During a conference call, Burkholder detailed months of tests, acknowledging that Maclin had inflamed lymph nodes and a biopsy in June. "A lot of things (were) going on, nothing definitive," he said.
Maclin scans, biopsies, blood studies over time were inconclusive. Maclin came to training camp because his St. Louis doctor was vacationing. Burkholder said Maclin's weight was normal in camp.
It sounds like the exact problem still might not be known, but symptoms are gone, all cancer tests negative. "We've exhausted our options" regarding all of the life-threatening diseases that could have been involved, Burkholder said. He said Maclin has been asympotmatic since before camp started.
The Eagles knew he was going to have laproscopic surgery on the lynmph nodes, which is why he returned to St. Louis last week. Maclin and the Eagles were then waiting for the results of the tests.
Burkholder said Maclin will be able to practice in 7 to 10 days, if there are no setbacks following the procedure. He will be able to rejoin the team this weekend for rehab.
Burkholder says he thinks surgeons took one lymph node, in diagnostic surgery, so the surgery itself is nothing major that Maclin needs to recover from.
Burkholder acknowledges that in a normal year, Maclin's problem might have been dealt with more efficiently. It came up during the lockout, so Burkholder actually found out Maclin had been sick through a media report. They were unable to speak directly, but Burkholder was able to put team internist Dr. Gary Dorshimer on the case.
According to Burkholder, Maclin didn't want information released until today.
Maclin said he got word that his final test came back negative this afternoon, saying it was "a sigh of relief." He said he will be cleared to practice when he recovers from the procedure he had this week.
He is expected to rejoin the team when it returns from Pittsburgh. The question is how far away he is from a football conditioning standpoint after the 5-month ordeal that began in May.
"That's first and foremost, I want everyone to know I'm fine, I'm healthy," Maclin said. "I was tested for everything and every single test came back negative. I don't have mono, I don't have AIDS, leukemia, all the things people were guessing on, there was nothing. I was being tested for lymphoma and thank GOD everything has come back negative.
"I wanted my privacy on this until I had answers. I don't like to talk unless I have all the answers about what I'm talking about. It was frustrating to hear all the rumors about me. It wasn't until this morning that I finally got my final answer and thankfully I'm healthy and ready to return to football."
It is not surprising that letting rumors flourish for weeks with no information was Maclin's preference. There is no way the team would have chosen that path.
Maclin said his symptoms included rapid weight loss, iron anemia and irregular results from his blood tests. He said a scan on May 11 showed that his lymph nodes were "enlarged and hot," a potential symptom of lymphoma.
"That's nothing anyone ever wants to hear," he said. "That's a hard time — the thought that at any given time you can get that call that they found cancer. It was eating away at me and it was hard for me to hide. I wanted to keep it private until I knew for sure what was going on and the Eagles were amazing. They were one of the only ones who knew. My relationship with them is more than professional. They were like family during this."
Maclin did not participate in training camp, but was at Lehigh for several days. He left the team last week to return to St. Louis for additional testing.
"It was all caused by an inflammatory virus, something that just runs its course through your body or you can treat with medicine," he said. "I didn't need medicine. It's just something I had to deal with ...
"Man, I don't wish this on anybody. I look back at my whole life, I've already gone through so much. I already appreciate where I am and appreciate the game of football. I can't wait to get back out there and just resume my normal life."
A series of tweets from Fox Sports' Jay Glazer has shed new light on the mysterious Jeremy Maclin illness:
Just spoke w Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin, who said he's been cleared to play finally after months of tests for Lymphoma, type of cancer
Maclin told me final test came back today after he got a scare on his bday May 11th. Had lymph nodes removed last week
Told me he's totally fine and was a virus that has left his body and expects to return once he recovers from last week's procedure.
The Eagles are scheduled to make an announcement tonight about Maclin once the team arrives in Pittsburgh, according to reports. Indications are that he will rejoin the team once it returns to the NovaCare Complex after the game against Pittsburgh.
Maclin did not take part in training camp and has been away from the team since returning to his hometown of St. Louis last week.
Neither the Eagles nor Maclin has previously disclosed the illness.
Added LeSean McCoy via Twitter: "I'm super happy my other young gun / brother back wit us my homie @jmac_18"