New Eagles receiver Arrelious Benn knows he needs to stay healthy

Arrelious Benn's stock dropped with Tampa Bay after injuries derailed his career.
Arrelious Benn's stock dropped with Tampa Bay after injuries derailed his career. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff)
Posted: March 23, 2013

Three years ago, Arrelious Benn was one of the top wide receivers in the NFL draft and a second-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Injuries have derailed his career, and the Eagles acquired Benn last week by moving down 22 slots from the sixth to the seventh round and surrendering a conditional pick.

The modest price shows how Benn's stock has slipped in three seasons. But at 24 years old and at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Benn still has potential.

The Eagles signed him Thursday to a one-year contract extension through 2014, so Benn will have the chance to fulfill that promise in Philadelphia. However, he was acquired to provide competition and to offer upside. There's no guarantee that he'll have a future with the Eagles.

"I'll be honest with you, I don't like my career" to this point, Benn said. "I got to stay healthy. I haven't stayed healthy. I've had a problem with injuries. And when I was healthy and out there, I made plays, and I was consistent."

Benn's best season was 2011, when he made 30 catches for 441 yards and scored three touchdowns in 14 games. He played just eight games in 2012, catching only four passes for 26 yards. He ended the season on injured reserve after he hurt his right knee.

The decline in production soured Benn's stint in Tampa Bay, and it appeared that he and the team were ready to move on. Benn expected a change to occur.

"I just needed a change of scenery, I just needed a fresh start," Benn said. "The situation just wasn't going right."

If healthy, Benn offers a dimension that only Riley Cooper offered last season for the Eagles: a big, physical threat. Benn also can line up in the slot, where his combination of size and speed could create a mismatch. In addition, Benn offers run-after-the-catch ability. He averaged more than 6 yards after the catch in each of his three seasons, according to Pro Football Focus.

Of course, none of that matters if Benn cannot reach the field. Beset by shoulder and knee injuries, he has not played a full schedule in his three seasons, and Benn has spent this offseason trying to figure out ways to stay healthy.

"The old thing wasn't working," Benn said. "I'm finding new ways to stay healthy."

Benn said he was not injury-prone as a college standout at Illinois, so there were not medical concerns before he arrived in the NFL.

The Eagles offer a fresh opportunity, with a new coaching staff and a receiving corps that can be bolstered. But unless Benn stays healthy, his career will continue going the wrong way.

"It's no secret to me," Benn said of his injuries. "I know that, I'm going to be honest with myself."

Contact Zach Berman at Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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