The business side of sports reared its ugly head on Tuesday when the Eagles were forced to release Brent Celek, their longest tenured player.
The Eagles are now strapped for cap space and will stand to save $4 million with Celek's release. Celek recently told Eagles beat reporter Jeff McLane that he's not ready to hang up his cleats; however, he'll have to take on a niche role in order to prove valuable to tight end-needy teams.
A fifth-round draft pick in 2007, Celek played all 11 of his National Football League seasons in Philadelphia, missing just one game during that span. For his career, Celek has 398 catches for 4,998 yards and 31 scores.
Celek set career highs in 2009 with 76 receptions for 971 yards and eight touchdowns. Pro Football Focus (via Bleeding Green Nation's Brandon Lee Gowton) ranked Celek just 57th out of 69 qualifying tight ends as a run blocker for the 2017 season.
"Brent Celek defines what it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle", the organization said in a statement, "His dedication to his profession and this organization is unmatched, and he will go down as one of the best tight ends in franchise history".
Blocking specialist tight ends are still regularly employed around the National Football League, though their numbers are dwindling in favor of pass-catchers with blocking upside. Brent embodied the City of Philadelphia's temperament and character with his toughness and grit. On Monday alone, the Miami Dolphins cut former Seminole star Lawrence Timmons and the Philadelphia Eagles made it known they want one former Nole back.