Eagles release defensive tackles Patterson, Jenkins
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
By BOB GROTZ
The long-awaited roster purge has begun for the Eagles.
Defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson were told Monday their services were no longer wanted in this, the Chip Kelly era.
Patterson, 29, was the longest-tenured Eagles player, having arrived as a first-round pick in the 2005 draft.
Patterson survived a harrowing seizure in 2011 during a practice at training camp caused by an abnormal tangle of blood vessels near his brain. He bounced back to play that season. Teammates named him the Ed Block Courage Award winner at the end of the season.
Patterson missed the first seven games last season after offseason brain surgery but later was shelved by pneumonia. He was one of the more likable Eagles, frequently performing a humorous tough-guy act on the media.
“Favorite memory?” Patterson said in a telephone interview. “Every year is a favorite memory. I just liked my teammates. We always had each other’s backs. I had an opportunity to play with some good coaches and players and learn from them. I hate to go but it’s kind of a blessing in disguise that it’s sooner than later. I’m able to start looking now rather than later. At this point I just want to play football again. That’s my passion. That’s my goal.”
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman called Patterson one of the toughest football players he ever met.
“He has overcome many obstacles throughout his career and I have the upmost respect for him because of it,” Roseman said in a statement furnished by the team. “Coach Kelly and I each had great conversations with him today. He is a class act. He gave this organization eight great seasons of hard work and dedication and we wish him all the best as he continues his career in this league.”
The Eagles’ defense is in the midst of transitioning from the 4-3 with four down linemen, including two tackles, to the 3-4, an alignment with three down linemen, one of which is a tackle.
Patterson said he thinks that might have something to do with the team’s decision.
“They probably felt I can’t play in this scheme as well as the other,” Patterson said of the 3-4. “And I respect their decision. I didn’t leave on a bad note. It’s been a blast.”
Patterson started 99 of 115 games with the Eagles, producing 551 tackles, 16½ sacks, four forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.
Patterson owns the Eagles franchise record for longest fumble return for a touchdown with a 98-yard return at San Francisco Sept. 24, 2006.
Jenkins started all 32 games in two seasons with the Eagles after joining the squad during the Dream Team free-agent extravaganza in 2011.
“I had a chance to speak with Cullen today and let him know of our decision,” Roseman said. “It’s one of the most difficult parts of the job. He has been a very productive player in this league for a long time but we felt it (was) in our team’s best interests that we go in a different direction. By releasing him at this point it gives he and his agent more time to sign on with another team. We wish Cullen and his family all the best as he continues his NFL career.”
Jenkins recorded 9½ sacks and recovered two fumbles in two years with the Eagles, who were scheduled to pay him $4.5 million in base pay and $1 million in bonuses this season. Jenkins had been under contract until 2015.
Jenkins, a product of Central Michigan, spent his first seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers, registering 29 sacks in 93 games.
Jenkins wasn’t immediately available for comment.
The Eagles have Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Antonio Dixon and Derek Landri under contract at defensive tackle.
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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:05 AM