Cullen Jenkins knew it probably wasn't good news.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was on the phone, and Jenkins couldn't remember the last time he spoke with Roseman over the phone.
"I don't even know if I talked to him on the phone since I signed here, so I knew something was up," Jenkins told CSN's Derrick Gunn on Monday.
Roseman informed Jenkins that he had been released and later had the same news for Mike Patterson.
Jenkins was acquired in the once celebrated but now berated summer-signing spree that followed the 2011 lockout. Selected by the Eagles in the first round of the 2005 draft, Patterson had been the team's longest tenured player.
Patterson leaves having played more games (115) with the Eagles than any defensive tackle in team history. With a career-high 114 tackles in 2007, he and Trent Cole became the first pair of Eagles D-linemen since 1991 to record more than 100 tackles in a single season. Over the last eight years he not only was one of the team's most productive players but also one of its most affable. Fittingly, Patterson asked the team to release the following message to the fans on his behalf.
“I want to thank the fans for all of their support over eight years in Philadelphia. It is never easy to say goodbye to a fan base that supported me no matter what. My goal was to come to work every day to try and make the Philadelphia Eagles the best organization we could be. The Eagles organization has treated me and my family with nothing but respect since the day I was drafted, and I wish Mr. Lurie, Howie, the new coaches and all of my teammates all the best going forward. I will miss them all and I will always have a place in my heart for the Eagles and for the city of Philadelphia.”
Patterson also spoke to CSN's Derrick Gunn.
"I was kind of shocked and I didn’t expect it of course but this is how the business is sometimes. ... I’m going to miss my boys over here so it’s definitely been a fun time for me out here," Patterson said.
"I just got that they wanted a different type of tackle or something like that. I respect them on their decision that they made. It’s a good organization here."
Needing to revamp their defense, the Eagles are expected to switch to 3-4 scheme, and both Patterson and Jenkins are better suited to be 4-3 tackles than 3-4 ends. Neither is built to be a nose tackle.
"I knew I was on the bubble to be honest," said Jenkins, who did play end in the 3-4 during his seven seasons in Green Bay. "I've seen a lot of stuff. I'm not naive to what goes on, especially with a new coaching staff. ... I hadn't heard anything that let me know that my spot was solidified, so it was just one of those things. It wasn't too much of a surprise."
Patterson, who turns 30 on Sept. 1, was signed through 2016 with base salaries of $2.9 million, $3.65 million, $4.9 million and $6.25 million over the next four years.
“Mike Patterson is one of the toughest players I have ever been around in the National Football League,” Roseman said in a statement released by the team. “He has overcome many obstacles throughout his career and I have the utmost respect for him because of it."
Patterson played 15 games in 2011 despite being diagnosed with a brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation), a dangerous tangling of blood vessels and arteries. The condition was discovered after Patterson had a seizure in training camp. He finished that season with 66 tackles (second among Eagles defensive linemen), 24 quarterback hurries (third on the team overall) and was named the team's Ed Block Courage Award winner by his teammates.
After undergoing surgery in the offseason to repair the AVM, Patterson played five games last season before contracting viral pneumonia, which sidelined him for the season's final three games.
"Coach Kelly and I each had great conversations with him today. He is a class act," Roseman said. "He gave this organization eight great seasons of hard work and dedication, and we wish him all the best as he continues his career in this league.”
Jenkins was scheduled to earn $5.5 million this season. He will receive $1.5 million as part of the contract he had restructured last season unless he signs for more elsewhere (in which case he won't count against the Eagles' cap). Had he been on the roster on March 15, he would have received a $1 million roster bonus.
“[Jenkins] 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," Roseman said. "By releasing him at this point, it gives he and his agent more time to sign on with another team. We wish Cullen and his family all the best as he continues his NFL career.”
Jenkins becomes the third member of the trumpeted 2011 free-agent class to be released, joining defensive end Jason Babin (cut during last season), quarterback Vince Young (sent packing last offseason), and Ronnie Brown (goal line). The last remaining member of the group -- once its prized component but now its biggest disappointment -- is cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who may not last much longer. Asomugha will either take a pay cut or be cut (see story); he will make $4 million if released.
After recording 61 tackles (40 solo) and 5.5 sacks in his first season with the Eagles, the 32-year-old Jenkins had 51 (28 solo) and four sacks last season.
"Part of the business -- they want to try to get younger, go a different route with the new staff," Jenkins said. "I'm just appreciative of the opportunity the last couple years. Sorry it didn't work out the way you wanted it to, but it's the business side of it, time to move on now."
The remaining defensive tackles on the roster are last year's first-round pick, Fletcher Cox, four-year veteran Antonio Dixon -- who at 6-foot-3 and 322 pounds is a possibility to be the nose tackle -- promising reserve Cedric Thornton, and Ronnie Cameron, who spent the final three weeks of last season on the practice squad.
CSNPhilly.com Eagles Insider Geoff Mosher contributed to this story.