Already without Riley Cooper, the Eagles dressed four wide receivers last week. Assuming they want to do the same against Baltimore, Gilyard could see immediate action if Maclin can't go. With Jason Avant entrenched as the slot receiver and Cooper still shelved, Gilyard or Demarius Johnson would see time opposite DeSean Jackson.
Wednesday was Gilyard's first day back with the team, but Reid insinuated that his preseason performance provided the Eagles with a certain level of comfort.
"You saw Mardy make plays. That is really what it came down to," Reid said. "He was able to handle the X and Z positions, mentally. And then he went out and made plays. We've given him an opportunity to come back out here. We had a lot of tough cuts we had to make. That was one of them."
Gilyard was a fourth-round pick of the Rams in 2010. After only six catches and 63 yards as a rookie, St. Louis cut Gilyard before the start of last season. With the exception of a short stint with the Jets, he was out of football until landing with the Eagles in January.
Home in Cincinnati and out of a job, Gilyard couldn't bear to watch too much football this weekend. But he saw Maclin get nicked up on Sunday, and texted him that night. It appears to be a short-term injury. Maclin's hip should heal and for that matter, so should Cooper's collarbone. Until then, Gilyard is focused on replicating what nearly landed him on the roster a few weeks ago.
"Just continue to do what I did in the preseason," he said. "Make plays, be explosive and be consistent. Leave the rest up to the business man in the office."
Jason Kelce played with Gilyard for 4 years at the University of Cincinnati. He suspects the consistency that Gilyard refers to, or lack thereof, has hindered his ability to stick on an NFL roster. But Kelce has seen first hand what, when at his best, his fellow Bearcat can bring to an offense.
"Mardy is a gamer. He has been a gamer since college," Kelce said. "For whatever reason, when he is out there he makes plays. He has good vision on the field and has the speed and elusiveness you need."
Despite merely receiving nibbles from other teams, Gilyard's confidence never waned. He thought he would get a shot, and getting it with a team he just left, at the moment, seems ideal.
He described his first practice back on Wednesday as "free flowing," as he uses this week to get back into game shape. Regardless of the injury situation, Gilyard's role against the Ravens is surely still on the Eagles' drawing board.
"Whether it's special teams or helping out with the receiving corps, I find a lot of stuff will be sewed up going into the weekend," Gilyard said. "Whatever my role is, I'm happy with it. I'm back. I was hoping I would get called back [here] because it's a system I'm familiar with. I'm familiar with the guys and we have chemistry."
Before he blossomed at Cincinnati, Gilyard struggled in the classroom and lost his much-needed scholarship. He was fortunate to get another shot, and parlayed it into an All-American collegiate career.
He is now tasked with cementing a spot on an Eagles roster loaded at receiver. In what amounts to another second chance, he will need a repeat performance to do it.