Cullen Jenkins is an Eagle no more.
The Birds released the veteran defensive tackle this afternoon in a somewhat surprising turn of events.
“It was a little shocking,” Jenkins spoke first to NBC10’s John Clark right after his release.
Jenkins said he hadn’t heard anything about his future with the team prior to getting a call from general manager Howie Roseman earlier today.
“You're just appreciative and you understand that there is a business side to it.”
Releasing Jenkins opens the door for Fletcher Cox and other younger players while saving cap money the Eagles can use to sign other vets.
The team’s website reports the 32-year-old, who started every game for the Eagles since joining the team before the 2011 season, was due to make $5.5 million this season.
Jenkins says the team never came to him about restructuring his deal.
Now the veteran of 10 NFL seasons is searching for a job -- uprooting his family once again including his children from schools they have come to like. It’s something that Clark says is a tough truth of being a professional athlete.
“It’s a part of the player’s life,” Clark said. “You never really think about it.”
Jenkins says he felt terrible that he and other big free-agent signees from the so-called “Dream Team” 2011 offseason never panned out.
“It wasn’t all the right attitudes together, we bought in a lot of pieces and all the pieces didn’t fit together,” Jenkins said. “I thought it would work… coming to the Eagles where there was a long history of going to the playoffs every year, always having a chance to compete… I thought we had a good chance of at least going to the playoffs every year.”
“The team just didn’t come together and gel like everyone thought it would and was expected to. And, it was just a shame.”
Roseman and the Eagles thanked the 6-foot-2-inch, 305-pounder for all his hard work (including 9.5 sacks and 77 tackles) during his two-year tenure in Philly.
“He has been a very productive player in this league for a long time but we felt it 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 told Clark that he appreciated the chance to catch on early with another team.
And Jenkins had a message to Eagles fans:
“To the Eagles fans, just thank you, thanks for the opportunity. I know Eagles fans get a bad rap but you’re just a really passionate set of fans... There were some really tough times but there were a lot of fans who stuck through it with us and cheered for us in the good times.”
Jenkins wasn't he only Eagles defensive tackle let go Monday. Former first-round pick Mike Patterson was released after recording 551 tackles and 16.5 sacks in eight seasons with the Birds.