Originally published in OregonLive.com.
EUGENE — Stuck preparing for or overseeing two practices Monday, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich didn’t see the Philadelphia Eagles’ latest transaction make its away into the news.
But when he found out Chip Kelly had traded for Jeff Maehl
, the former UO receiving star, from the Houston Texans in exchange for an offensive lineman, Helfrich beamed at the thought of the Eagles’ green taking on an even deeper Duck hue.
“That’s awesome, Jeff Maehl’s a stud,” he said Monday. “Jeff Maehl’s a tough — again all the superlatives that are said about the d-line other than huge and ginormous, Jeff is that. Tough guy, smart, athletic, coachable, he’ll immediately add to just the culture.”
Maehl graduated from Oregon after the 2010 season tied for No. 1 in career receptions with 178, No. 7 in career receiving yardage and tied for most career UO receiving touchdowns with 24. Half of those scores came during Oregon’s run to the BCS championship game during 2010, when he set the school’s single-season receiving TDs mark of 12.
Helfrich said Maehl was one of the best he’s seen in a system like Oregon’s that prizes blocking as much as catching.
“That’s the hardest position probably in this whole deal, as to why am I doing this, why am I running 700 miles in practice today?” he said. “But he’s a great dude and a great player.”
There are now six former Ducks on Philadelphia’s roster in the first year of Kelly’s coaching career. They include defensive end Isaac Remington, receiver Will Murphy, linebacker Casey Matthews, quarterback Dennis Dixon and safety Patrick Chung. Two more from Oregon State are on the roster, too. Helfrich said that while any former Duck should have a level of comfort within Kelly’s team, it doesn’t disregard the talent level.
“I’m sure Will Murphy is there for a similar reason but yeah anytime there’s some familiarity,” he said. “But, you have to be a great player at that level. You’re not just picking up someone who knows the words or something. Jeff’s a stud.”
— Andrew Greif