GREEN BAY – Cullen Jenkins never wanted to leave Green Bay in the first place. Now, could the ex-Packers defensive end return to the fold?
The Philadelphia Eagles, who signed Jenkins to a five-year, $25 million deal in July 2011 after he’d won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers, released Jenkins on Monday, saving themselves the $5.5 million they were due to pay him in 2013.
With the Eagles having fired Andy Reid, who signed Jenkins, and hired Chip Kelly as their new coach, Jenkins’ release was not a huge surprise.
An iMessage to Jenkins was not immediately returned Monday afternoon. But in a January 2012 interview, Jenkins spoke of his time in Green Bay fondly while also expressing keen disappointment that the Packers didn’t even try to re-sign him after seven years with the team..
“I believe they spoke with my agents a couple times about just seeing what was going on with us and asking questions. To my knowledge, that was the only thing,” Jenkins said then. “There was no effort to bring us back. My agent even tried to reach out to them during the time we were allowed to talk and tried to get them to offer me. But only two teams actually offered me: The Eagles and the (New Orleans) Saints.”
There was talk that the Eagles might cut him after one season, but the team instead paid the $5 million roster bonus he was due last March and he returned for a second season. In two years in Philadelphia, the now 32-year-old Jenkins had 9.5 sacks. He had 29 sacks during his time in Green Bay.
The Packers have already reportedly expressed an interest in defensive end Chris Canty, who was cut last month by the New York Giants and is planning to visit Green Bay. With defensive end Jerel Worthy, a second-round pick last year, sidelined after his rookie season ended with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Dec. 30 regular-season finale, the Packers have a need on the defensive line.
"I had a chance to speak with Cullen today and let him know of our decision," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "It's one of the most difficult parts of the job. He has been a very productive player in this league for a long time, but we felt it in our team's best interests that we go in a different direction."
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