Jeremy Maclin needed some time to get over the sting of being released by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Although the standout receiver put up lesser numbers last year than in 2015, Maclin had no indication he was about to be the victim of a salary-cap cut — especially after participating in offseason training activities with the Chiefs.
After his first practice with the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, Maclin reflected on his surprising exit from Kansas City on June 2.
“Of course it hurt a little bit, just kind of how it went down and it being so unexpected,” he said. “But at the same time it’s a business. You understand how things work. So there was only one choice but to pull it together and get things back on track.”
Turns out, several NFL teams were interested in giving him a job. Baltimore proved to be the best fit, and Maclin happily signed a two-year deal on Monday.
“Baltimore made the most sense from a football standpoint, a comfort standpoint and a personal standpoint,” he said. “It’s an organization that I’ve always had respect for from afar.”
The feeling is evidently mutual. What team wouldn’t want a speedster with deft hands, 46 career touchdowns and two 1,000-yard seasons?
“The man is a fantastic player and a fantastic person,” Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “He, along with the players that we have, I think that will be just an outstanding mix.”
With Maclin, Mike Wallace and up-and-coming Breshad Perriman, the Ravens have a trio of receivers capable of burning defenses on the outside, over the middle and deep.
“When I first got here in the spring. I was excited about our guys then,” Wallace said. “You add a guy who has had some 1,000-yard seasons and a Pro Bowl, you can’t ask for much more than that.”
Maclin, 32, starred at Missouri before beginning his NFL career in 2009 with Philadelphia. He made the Pro Bowl in 2014 before signing a two-year, $23 million contract with Kansas City. He had 87 catches for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns in his first season with the Chiefs, but last year caught only 44 passes for 536 yards and two scores in 12 games.
He attributed the drop-off to being “banged up.” Now, Maclin is eager to bounce back, an in the process show the Chiefs they made a mistake.
“Big time, and not just to prove them wrong,” he said. “You just never want to be in a situation like that again. There were things last year that happened that were out of my control. They kind of took them and ran with it.”
After receiving inquiries from quite a few teams and visiting Buffalo and Baltimore, Maclin finally picked the Ravens. The decision was based partially on the desire to keep his new bride (they married last month) happy.
“She grew up in Baltimore,” Maclin said. “Everything my wife said was always about Baltimore. That was probably a good sign. Happy wife, happy life.”
Perhaps no one on the field Wednesday looked happier than Maclin, who is attempting to put his days in Kansas City behind him.
“I don’t really like to talk about my former life,” he insisted. “I’m all about the present.”