Eagles release former No. 1 pick Danny Watkins
Danny Watkins can put out fires full-time now.
A former first-round pick who was a firefighter before the
Philadelphia Eagles drafted him 23rd overall in 2011, Watkins was
released Saturday. He started 18 games at right guard in two
seasons before losing his job early last year.
”A change of scenery was necessary for him,” general manager
Howie Roseman said. ”The pressure of being a first-round pick in
Philadelphia, how he internalized that, the way for him to get his
career back on track is to go to a new place and both I and Chip
(Kelly) told him that today.”
Watkins was a surprise pick by former coach Andy Reid two years
ago. The Canadian played hockey and rugby in high school and had
more experience as a firefighter (five years) than a football
player (four) when the Eagles selected him at age 26, making him
the oldest first-round pick since 1980 at that time.
There were questions about Watkins’ passion to play the game and
whether he turned to football just to make money.
”Part of his personality, him being a firefighter, is that he
feels he has to save people,” Roseman said. ”He put a lot of
pressure on himself. He couldn’t just go out and play. Getting away
from `Danny Watkins, the first-round pick’ and just being `Danny
Watkins’ will really help him.”
The Eagles also released tight end Clay Harbor, safety David
Sims, offensive lineman Michael Bamiro, linebackers Travis Long and
Chris McCoy, wide receivers Greg Salas and Russell Shepard, and
running back Matthew Tucker to reach the 53-man roster limit.
Harbor was a fourth-round pick in 2010 who still has potential.
He learned to play linebacker in offseason workouts and also played
wide receiver in training camp in an effort to increase his
versatility. Harbor had 47 catches, including four touchdowns. He
became expendable when the Eagles signed free agent James Casey and
drafted Zach Ertz in the second round.
On Friday, the Eagles cut 12 players. Among them were
quarterbacks Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne and 2012 starting center
Watkins’ departure means the Eagles already have cut ties with
their first two picks in the 2011 draft. Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett
was released last year. Their third and fourth-round picks in that
draft, cornerback Curtis Marsh and linebacker Casey Matthews, are
barely clinging to roster spots.
Reid, who presided over that draft, is gone. Team owner Jeffrey
Lurie already absolved Roseman from blame for drafts before 2012.
The Eagles restructured their personnel department after hiring
Kelly to replace Reid.
”A lot of the leadership positions and the responsibilities
have changed in our organization,” Roseman said. ”We’ve obviously
changed a lot of people in our personnel department. We’ve changed
the way we look at things because we have new people in
The Eagles have 20 players that weren’t on the team last year,
including 10 rookies. Only 15 players remain from 2010 when the
Eagles won the NFC East title. They followed that up with an 8-8
finish before a disastrous 4-12 season cost Reid his job.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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