Sep 022010

New Eagles CB Jorrick Calvin

September 2 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford

Jorrick Calvin was minding his business bright and early Monday morning – the business of trying to make the Arizona Cardinals’ roster – when he was pulled from a defensive backs meeting and told the head coach wanted to see him.

Calvin is a rookie, 23 years old, and he might not know much about the workings of professional football yet, but he knew that Ken Whisenhunt probably wasn’t going to give him a good-conduct medal.

The walk through the corridors seemed endless, with the pit-of-the-stomach emptiness that accompanies any unexpected trip to the principal’s office. But Calvin received a mixture of good news along with the bad when he arrived.

The Cardinals, the team that drafted him in the sixth round, the team that took a chance on a little player from a small school even though he hadn’t played his senior year – that team had decided to get rid of him. On the other hand, another team, the Philadelphia Eagles, wanted him, and he would have a chance to make that team.

“I was like, ‘Uh, when do I have to be there?’ ” Calvin said. “I left the coach’s office, and Philadelphia called me and said they were going to get me on a flight that day, at 11:50. It was already 9 o’clock in Arizona. And I just said, ‘Wow. OK.’ It’s pretty crazy.”

The Eagles traded fullback Charles Scott, whom they took with the 200th pick in the draft, for Calvin, whom the Cardinals took with the 201st pick. Arizona is thin at fullback and needed another in camp, just for depth. The Eagles appear to have plenty of cornerbacks, which is Calvin’s position, but they might think they need help on kickoff and punt returns, both of which he does as well.

These late-summer trades are often meaningless, with teams making just-in-case moves to plug small holes that haven’t even become holes yet. It could be that getting another punt returner in camp became a precautionary necessity when DeSean Jackson injured an ankle last week and Jeremy Maclin developed an unsettling aversion to catching a football in traffic. It could be that Quintin Demps’ role on the kickoff-return unit became a bit more tenuous when Macho Harris moved back to safety to fight for the last roster spot there.

Who really knows? All of these deep thoughts are way above the heads of the young players who crisscross the country like spare parts on a cargo flight. Sometimes it works out for the cargo, but that’s not the way to bet.

For Calvin, however, it is still a chance, although he knows there are no guarantees. He landed Monday in Philadelphia, practiced on Tuesday, did a walk-through on Wednesday, and will get his big chance Thursday night in the final exhibition game against the Jets. The deadline for the cutdown to a 53-man roster is Saturday.

“You’ve got four days to show what you can do,” Calvin said. “I wouldn’t say it’s fair, but it’s a business. If you want to play in this league, you’ve got to be acclimated to what comes with it.””

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