Cowboys punter McBriar joining Eagles
The best punter in the history of the Dallas Cowboys will be in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform this season.
Mat McBriar spent eight seasons with the Cowboys after then-coach Bill Parcells recognized how much of a weapon the punter was on special teams.
Reached by phone on his way to Eagles training camp in Lehigh, Pa., McBriar told FOXSportsSouthwest.com he was "more shocked than anything" he was changing teams.
McBriar dealt with a nerve issue in his left foot for much of last season and underwent surgery in February to remove a cyst below his left knee. The Eagles had shown interest in McBriar for the past three months, and they were obviously impressed with his workout Monday. However, McBriar said he felt great about his workout for the Cowboys on Tuesday but was unable to strike a deal with the team.
"It's pretty crazy," McBriar said. "It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league. The (Cowboys') interest was gone. I guess I was a little disappointed, but I'm excited that the Eagles really want me here."
McBriar was the Cowboys' full-time punter from 2004 to '11, and he holds pretty much every team record. He was one of the only punters in the league who could consistently execute an end-over-end punt to pin opponents inside their 20-yard line. He also could boom kicks in the 60-yard range when needed.
The Cowboys will likely turn to Chris Jones to replace McBriar. Jones averaged 42.6 yards per punt last season while filling in for McBriar.
In Philadelphia, McBriar will join forces with one of the league's most heralded special-teams coaches, Bobby April. And you can bet Eagles coach Andy Reid's hands were all over this transaction, since he watched McBriar undermine his team's explosive return game quite a few times.
"It should be a great competition, and that's what we're trying to do," Reid said. "I mentioned that at all the positions, we are trying to create that. You are talking about a kid who is one of the best in the National Football League and he's coming off an injury, so we'll see how that all works out and how he works through that. He had a workout and impressed us there. I don't expect Chas to bow down to him at all, and he’s going to come out and compete. It should be a good battle."
But the former Cowboys punter will have to make one adjustment immediately. As a veteran player, he normally had a room to himself at training camp.
"I think I have three roommates in this training camp," joked McBriar.