Philadelphia Eagles’ veteran Wide Receiver Miles Austin has been cut from the team, marking a stunning fall from grace less than 24 hours after the team upset the New England Patriots, 35-28.
“I think, like anybody, he was disappointed but he understood,” said Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly to ESPN, of the former Cowboys and Browns player who signed with Philadelphia in March for $2.3 million. “Miles is a real team player and knows what we’re trying to get accomplished here.”
The 31-year-old Austin was added to the Philadelphia Eagles roster to add a veteran presence in the locker room, but garnered just 13 catches in 11 games, making him expendable compared to a number of younger wide receivers — including Jordan Matthews (2014 second round), Josh Huff (2014 third round), Nelson Agholor (2015 first round), and practice squad player Jonathan Krause (2014 undrafted, formerly of Patriots and Browns) — who have been promoted to replace him in the Eagles’ Sunday outing against the Patriots. According to Kelly, Krause — who had one catch for four yards — earned the opportunity to play with the Philadelphia Eagles, over Austin, after strong performances in practice.
“Krause is another guy, which you’ve continued to see them improve over the course of the season,” continued Kelly. “And we talk about our guys — it is an evaluation every day that you’re out there and you have an opportunity. Nothing’s set in stone, that you continue to show us that you could help us and be productive.”
Prior to his release, Austin had been demoted on the Philadelphia Eagles’ depth chart and was a healthy scratch against New England. In addition, The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that the Eagles first began to consider their options after Austin’s performance in the team’s November 15 loss to the Miami Dolphins, 20-19. It was in this game, the Inquirer noted, that Austin performed as followed.
“Dropped a would-be touchdown pass… appeared to run wrong routes… wasn’t ready when [Eagles’ Quarterback] Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez (who replaced injured Bradford) had hoped to throw to him on at least three occasions… and failed to drag a second foot inbounds in the back of the end zone when it appeared he had time and space.”
If the Philadelphia Eagles are to make an attempt at winning the NFC East, a division in which each of its four franchises find themselves searching for answers, the team will need to recapture some of the magic that previously inspired it to 10-win seasons during Kelly’s first two coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, prior to his taking greater control over personnel this past the off-season. Significant injuries to the rival Dallas Cowboys paired with inconsistent and often poor play by the Washington Redskins and New York Giants still makes this possible, despite the Eagles’ 5-7 record to date.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Austin was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. He played eight seasons with the team prior to signing as a free agent for one season with the Cleveland Browns and, later, this season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Kelly noted to ESPN that Austin, who had just one touchdown catch with the Philadelphia Eagles, will be paid the remainder of his contract.
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