“I just want them to know that I played the game with them on my mind. Also, that I will miss them and the city. I will always be a Philadelphia guy. I wish them the best. Hopefully, I showed them that being a good person supersedes being a good athlete.”
These were the words that former Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receiver, Jason Avant, sent in an email for his fans at the end of his 8-year deal with the team.
Avant stands 11th on the franchise’s all-time list, accumulating 297 catches total. Avant was a fourth-round rookie from Michigan in 2006. Proving himself, Avant’s catching record continued to improve throughout each season as an Eagle. But, this past season, Avant dropped from 53 catches for 649 yards to 38 catches for 447 yards.
Avant was a huge help to Vick throughout his time as starting quarterback but did not show the same ability for Nick Foles. But, was that a reason to release him? I think that the strength and positivity he brought to the team outweighed that.
Avant was a shining start during his team as an Eagle. He made himself plenty known throughout the years.
Avant is remembered as having one of the most memorable one-handed sideline catches that most fans have ever seen in 2012 at Tampa. Or, even the catch that resulted in him concussing himself while throwing the ball that pushed DeSean Jackson for the walkoff punt-return touchdown at the Giants stadium in 2010.
People had a lot to say about the release of Avant. Quarterback Michael Vick tweeted about Avant saying that he “has been a great player and an even better teammate over the years.”
And, according to an article written by Philly.com, former Eagles defensive tackle Antonio Dixon once said Avant was “like the dad of the team.”
It was said that Vick and Avant played key roles in bringing the team back together after Riley Cooper put a strain on the team with his use of the “N-word” at a concert last summer.
How interesting is it that Cooper has already been signed back to the Eagles but Avant has been released? Is this a good decision?
It is also interesting to think about the fact that Vick is almost certainly leaving the team in free agency.
I think Avant’s release is extremely sad for the Philadelphia Eagles’ as a whole and especially sad for the fans that have watched him improve as a person and as a player since 2006.
In a statement, team chairman Jeffrey Lurie said, “There have not been any players who have represented the Philadelphia Eagles’ with more class and dignity than Jason Avant.”
Head coach Chip Kelly also said, “In the year I spent with Jason, he was unbelievable in terms of his work ethic and his selfless nature. He was a great teammate. We know he will have a chance to sign with another team and by releasing him now, he will have a full offseason to make the necessary adjustments. I had a chance to speak with him today and he handled himself like the true professional he is.”
According to Eaglescap.com, it has been estimated that the team would gain about $2.755 million in salary-cap room with the release, giving the Eagles’ about $24 million under the new $133 million cap.
The release is understandable in some ways, but not any less sad.
Philadelphia will miss Avant and always be thankful for the time he spent as an Eagle. I’m sure that his fellow coaches, teammates, and fans wish him the best of luck in the future. I know I do.