For some of these athletes, their NFL careers may be essentially over with that final 'pink-tag'. For others, that shutting door could give way to the opening of a window elsewhere. It's a never-say-never league, and as long as you answer your phone, you could find life once again.
Below is a list of the 22 players that the Eagles released one year ago, August 31, 2013. Let's take a look at their football lives over the past year, and see how things have shaken out for them.
(By the way, this could lead to a great tell-all book - 'I Love the Smell of Lehigh in July', by Michael Gasperson)
OT Michael Bamiro
The sizable Bamiro (6'8, 335) was one of my sleeper picks to make the roster last year, but it wasn't meant to be. After spending last season on the practice squad, Bamiro took another kick at the can with the Eagles this summer, but was one of the cuts on the way to 75.
LB Everette Brown
Veteran Brown recorded six sacks with the Panthers before failing to make the Eagles final roster last year. In October of 2013, Brown signed with the Cowboys, and sacked Christian Ponder just a few days later. Brown recorded two assisted tackles in the December 29 'all of nothing' game against the Eagles, and was released in February. Brown then signed with the Redskins in late July.
Monstrous tackle was a regular presence in the tail-end of Andy Reid's coaching tenure, compiling three sacks and 55 tackles just prior to the 'Dream Team' crash-and-burn. Dixon didn't play in the NFL at all in 2013, and has signed with the expansion West Texas Wildcatters of the Lone Star Football League.
QB Dennis Dixon
The Vick/Foles/Barkley tribunal proved enough of a clog to prevent Dixon from making the cut. And they say Chip Kelly clings to his former Ducks, hmm? Dixon has not thrown a regular season pass since 2010, and was just days ago released by the Bills
TE Clay Harbor
Like Dixon, Harbor found himself buried behind a long queue at his position, and wound up with the Jaguars. With the team, Harbor set personal highs in receiving yards (292) and yards per game (a scant 18.3), and caught two touchdowns. He remains the second-string tight end behind Marcedes Lewis.
DE Dave King
Seventh-round selection in 2013 failed to make an impact in preseason, despite undergoing a team-mandated, weight-gaining meal plan that purportedly involved eating six meals a day. King signed onto the Bengals practice squad in October, and is still on the roster today.
QB G.J. Kinne
Found new life on the practice squad last October, and is hours away from his last gasp at an Eagles roster spot, taking on Matt Barkley for the number three job.
OL Matt Kopa
At one time a back-up for the 2011 AFC Champion Patriots, Kopa has further faded into obscurity, with no team picking him up in the past year.
DE Joe Kruger (Injured Reserve)
King's fellow seventh-round pick sat on IR last season with a shoulder injury, and was thought to be part of a rotation at end this season. When Kruger was leapfrogged by rookie Taylor Hart and preseason sensation Brandon Bair, Kruger became expendable, and was deemed a surprising cut among the first 15 pink slips. Days ago, Kruger was claimed by the Chargers.
CB Trevard Lindley (Injury Settlement)
A fourth-round selection in 2010, Lindley recorded all of one interception across four scattered seasons, and his tenure ended without ceremony a year ago. Today, Lindley plays north of the border for the CFL's Montreal Alouettes with the likes of Chad Johnson and David Clowney.
LB Travis Long
Long was quickly corralled back to the practice squad, but finds himself in a stronger position this season. A natural outside linebacker, Long's received extensive work this summer as an inside man, giving him ammunition to bump Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho out for a back-up spot.
LB Chris McCoy
A seventh-round pick by the Dolphins in 2010, McCoy has never seen regular season action, despite exhibition play with a number of teams, including the Birds. McCoy actually seemed fairly impressive last preseason, particularly with burst in the pass rush, but failed to convert it into a gig. The Jaguars would claim him, and release him two weeks later. McCoy, like Lindley, has gone the Canadian route, now playing for the Ottawa Redblacks with CFL icon Henry Burris.
WR Ifeyani Momah
A disappointing cut last year, Momah's height and physicality received Jordan Matthews-level of fanboy-love a year ago. Despite his showings in camp, it didn't translate to game play. This year, Momah's got a second chance, with Arrelious Benn, Damaris Johnson, Jeff Maehl, and perhaps even Brad Smith as his most direct competition.
WR Will Murphy
Oregon alum returned to the Eagles on a futures deal in January, but doesn't seem to have Momah's more reasonable odds of making the team.
Reynolds proved in 2012, despite his best efforts, that he's no Jason Kelce, and was aced out for the back-up center spot by Julian Vandervelde last summer. Reynolds ended up playing three games for the Giants last season, and is still lingering on their roster.
Robinson was traded to the Eagles a week before cuts for running back Felix Jones (remember when the Eagles had Felix Jones?). After exiting Philly, Robinson recorded three tackles in six games with the Broncos, before getting cut in mid-October. Robinson would then play two games with the Chargers, and then briefly played with the Redskins to end an odyssey of a season. Washington released Robinson earlier this week.
WR Greg Salas
A sentimental fan favorite for his self-sacrificial effort in laying out for throws, Salas is a former fourth-round choice by the Rams-turned-journeyman. Last season with the Jets, Salas caught eight balls for 143 yards, and remains with the team as of now.
A year ago, I was hoping to see Shepard ace out DaMaris Johnson for a roster spot. Tampa Bay saw the talent in the undrafted receiver and brought him on, only to use him pretty much on special teams only. Shepard's lone 2013 highlight was forcing a Jermaine Kearse fumble on November 3.
Sims last saw meaningful action in 2012 with the Eagles, and sat out all of 2013. After signing with the Colts this past February, Sims was trimmed from the roster earlier this week.
OT Matt Tennant
A fifth-round pick by the Saints in 2010, Tennant was brought into the Nest in 2012 to try and stop the wounded offensive line's bleeding. After getting cut last August, Tennant has been out of the league altogether.
Of the five players on this list currently on the Eagles roster (Kinne, Long, Momah, Murphy), Tucker has the best odds of making the roster after a pair of tremendous showings this summer. Tucker's displayed a jarring quickness hitting the holes through and behind the underrated back-up line (how long until Jeff Stoutland is an offensive coordinator?), scoring four touchdowns (two against the Steelers' starting D). If Tucker falls short this season, it'll be heartbreaking in the minimum.
And that brings us to the biggest bust of the Reid years. When you're a mostly-healthy scratch in the latter games of 2012, with the line has losing three starters to season-ending injury, and the likes of Reynolds and Demetress Bell are getting game time, that's a major red flag. Watkins played one game for a controversy-laden Dolphins line last season, before eschewing the NFL to resume life as a firefighter.
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