As his teammates walked off the field at the NovaCare Complex Wednesday morning, McLeod Bethel-Thompson stayed behind, throwing passes to wide receiver David Watford.
Bethel-Thompson said he wanted to help out Watford, an undrafted rookie who is learning a new position, and get in some extra reps himself.
"I control what I can control. Stay out here and throw late, stay in there and make sure you learn the playbook, that stuff you can control," said Bethel-Thompson, who played college football at Sacramento State. "Playing time you can't control. How many people are on the depth chart you can't control."
As the Eagles' fourth quarterback behind Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, and Carson Wentz, Bethel-Thompson is not likely to make the team. Since 2011, the 28-year-old has been cut from nine NFL teams. He was even released by the Eagles in May after signing in February.
Why sign with the Eagles again?
"It's better to be in the door than out the door," Bethel-Thompson said with a laugh. "So many people would love to be in my position right now."
A big plus to that position, he said, is being in the quarterback room with Bradford, Daniel, and Wentz. Every day, he said, he picks the brains of veterans Bradford and Daniel. Bethel-Thompson works on mechanics with Bradford and learns the ins and outs of this offensive system from Daniel, who had new head coach Doug Pederson as his offensive coordinator for three years in Kansas City.
And from Wentz, the first-round pick many look to as the future of the franchise?
"He is a rookie in the NFL. He has got to pick up a lot of things," Bethel-
Thompson said. "It is a different game, but he is picking it up well. He is working his butt off and that is all you can ask for, that he doesn't make the same mistake twice."
Bethel-Thompson wants to learn every day, looking for lessons he can apply not only to the next snap but also to life after football.
"You have to define yourself as a person outside of this game," Bethel-Thompson said. "Because this game is not going to be around forever. And at some point, the door is going to get shut on everybody."
But don't take that to mean Bethel-Thompson wants to call it quits anytime soon. Every time he gets cut from a team, he is devastated. But in those moments, he thinks about a lot of kids from his hometown and his "rough-and-tumble" high school in San Francisco's Mission District. He thinks of kids who never left, never got opportunities like the ones Bethel-Thompson has had.
So he will stay in the game, he said, "until they force me out the door. They would have to drag me out kicking and screaming."
Bethel-Thompson admits he isn't getting as many reps as he would like in camp, but said he hopes to play a lot in the preseason. (In 12 preseason games since 2011, he has thrown three touchdown passes and nine interceptions.)
But like so much else in the league, that is something he can't control. So he tries not to worry.
"It is easy to dwell in the negatives," he added, "but at the end of the day, you get to wake up and throw a ball for a living, and you shouldn't take that for granted."