With the start of free agency three weeks away, Eagles free-agent receiver Jeremy Maclin remains hopeful that he can reach a deal to stay in Philadelphia.

"I've always stated this is where I want to be. The Eagles have stated the same thing," Maclin said Saturday at the NovaCare Complex before tryouts for the Soul of the arena league. "We'll continue to get on the same page with all that and just get something done."

Maclin spoke to prospective Soul players before the tryout. He walked without issue and said he is "very pleased" with the recovery of his right anterior cruciate ligament, which he tore in July. He will not be fully healed by the time he signs a contract, likely in March, but Maclin is optimistic about his participation in the spring and summer.

"Training camp is no question," Maclin said. "OTAs, I'll be able to run around and stuff, probably just without contact. I'm in a very good place at this stage of my rehab."

Maclin has spent the offseason in the Philadelphia area and has been around the team facility. The team has been supportive of Maclin.

Maclin and fellow receiver Riley Cooper are both free agents in a crowded class. May's draft is also loaded with potential starting receivers.

Players are eligible to begin talking to teams on March 8. Deals can be reached beginning March 11. Maclin said it's too early to tell how the market will go. He might need to decide between a short-term deal to enhance his value or a long-term deal at a discounted price.

"With the way this thing is set up, I can't really talk to anybody, and anybody can't talk to you," Maclin said. "I'm just taking it day-by-day."

Maclin played college football for Missouri and remains close to the program - he plans to visit the campus next week. He knows former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who publicly came out as gay last week.

"I applaud him for what he did," Maclin said. "I think he did it at the right time. Sadly, in the world we live in, there are people who are going to question it and have some types of doubt about that. But for him coming out so early, it'll give people a chance to kind of ask him questions, teams at the combine."

The Missouri locker room accepted Sam. Maclin speculated Sam might encounter some issues in NFL locker rooms.

"I think Mizzou was so accepting because he had already been there for four years," Maclin said. "I do think he'll face some challenges. Should he? I don't think so. But I'm being a realist right now."