Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks confirmed that he requested to be released or traded at the end of the 2016 season.
Kendricks has been the subject of trade rumors for the past few seasons, but after he played a dramatically reduced role in '16, a move seemed more likely than ever. Apparently, the Eagles had other plans.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
"They said, 'I'm young, I'm talented and they're not into that,'" Kendricks said Friday after practice. "But I'm sure they were still trying at some point in time."
Kendricks also revealed there was a clause in his contract that would have allowed the Eagles to release him with minimal salary-cap implications, but the deadline to do so was in March.
"The last time I spoke to (people) upstairs was the exit meeting (in January), and right before they had an option to cut me," Kendricks said. "They had an option to do that with no money owed, but they decided to keep me.
"That's the business. It's just like that. You tell them what you want, they either do it or they don't, and you are in the contract that you signed."
Kendricks signed a four-year contract extension worth $29 million with $16 million in guarantees in 2015. At the time, the deal seemed like a win-win for both sides.
Much has changed since then. The Eagles have since made changes at head coach and defensive coordinator, going from Chip Kelly and Bill Davis to Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz. Kelly was also in charge of personnel at the time of Kendricks' extension, but Howie Roseman has since reprised that role.
"I signed under a different coach, and I signed under a different management. There's some people still here, but things change," Kendricks said.
"This is my fourth coordinator on one team. Put that in perspective. Things change a lot."
Asked if he would still sign that deal knowing what he knows now, Kendricks wasn't sure, and ultimately decided to "plead the fifth."
The Eagles switched from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 when Schwartz came aboard, so there is one less linebacker on the field to begin with. But because so many offenses regularly use three wide receivers more, Schwartz often uses a 4-2-5.
With Eagles linebackers Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham commanding the bulk of the playing time in the top two spots, Kendricks managed to get on the field for only 25 percent of the defensive snaps in 2016.
"That part's not really up to me," Kendricks said. "All I can do is go out there and bust my ass, work hard and everything else will handle itself.
"I'm still going to have opportunities out there. They may not be as many. There's obviously a cut-off from what I was doing and my output and performance - not performance, but the statistic standpoint of what I was doing - there's a drop-off because of my percentage of playing time. But I'm still going to have an opportunity.
"Now you have to take the small amount of opportunity that you get and try to make those 'wow' plays, and that's what I'm going to try to do."
Despite expressing some frustration with his reduced role, Kendricks claims he is happy.
"I've learned a lot about not only this business but about myself, too. It's all an experience that will lead to a better Mychal Kendricks on and off the field.
"You try to take everything with a grain of salt and take as much out of the experience as you can to come out the other side better. You have to come out more positive. I'm trying to approach every day with positivity. I'm trying to have an attitude of gratitude, and that's tough. Don't get me wrong, it's tough. It is.
"This is a game, and I love to play this game, and I still get to play this game - and I get to get paid for it. I try to look at the positive. I'm saving my body. I try to look at things in that type of light. There could be some good out of this situation."
Some good could come in the form of a trade, a possibility Kendricks has not given up on completely just yet. A need could always arise with another team, which could lead to an offer the Eagles cannot refuse.
Entering his sixth NFL season, Kendricks will turn 27 in September. During a four-year span from 2012 to '15 - before his playing time fell off - Kendricks racked up 350 tackles, 12 sacks, 19 pass deflections, 3 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles.
If he were to be made available, surely some team would have interest in Kendricks, who says, "I think I'm a good player."
"You only have to have one of them that likes what you do, and there's 32 out there," Kendricks said. "Everyone's up. We're all renting space here. Everyone. Coaches included."