From Starter to Waivers in One Year's Time, Brian Rolle Released

From Starter to Waivers in One Year's Time, Brian Rolle Released

Brian Rolle found himself in an unlikely position this time last year: weakside linebacker.

A sixth-round pick out of Ohio State in 2011, Rolle wound up replacing fellow rookie Casey Matthews in Week 3, and was thrust into the Eagles' starting lineup from that point on. Perhaps even more unlikely, the 5'10" Rolle was arguably their best linebacker the rest of the way, and entered this summer the favorite to start at weakside again.

Continuing in a string of unlikelies, Brian Rolle was released on Tuesday morning, exactly one year to the day since he made his first NFL start.

Rolle had a disappointing preseason, bad enough that it cost him his job less than two weeks before the regular season began. This also despite the fact that the guy coaches really wanted to replace him with -- Jamar Chaney -- was hurt all summer. Instead, they tabbed veteran special teams ace Akeem Jordan for Rolle's spot.

Rolle was adamant he would be back, but when Jordan missed Sunday night's game with a hamstring injury, it was Chaney who was in his place.

Still, his release sort of came from out of nowhere, but seems to be in part a response to the struggles of the kick coverage unit. David Wilson averaged 36.2 yards per return for the Giants on Sunday, putting the Eagles' defense in a precarious position for much of the evening as Eli Manning too often was given a short field to work with.

Indeed, while he may not be the source of the problem, the club's own stats indicate Rolle has been a non-factor on special teams all season. When there are two players ahead of you on the depth chart, and you can't find another way to contribute, there really is very little reason the team should keep you around.

Second-year player Adrian Moten, an undrafted linebacker out of Maryland, was signed to replace Rolle. He spent the summer at Lehigh, and previously appeared in 12 games in 2011 between the Seahawks and Colts.

Eagles fans likely won't miss Rolle. Being an undersized defender didn't help his cause in this town to begin with, and his Twitter spats with those critical of his ability brought negative press.

However, it's fascinating to see how quickly he went from late-round draft pick to best linebacker on the team to gone entirely. Nobody thought Rolle was going to be the next big thing, but he showed some upside in a solid rookie season.

Then again perhaps that was merely a sign of how bad the linebackers truly were last year, and his fall from grace a sign of how far they've come since. Clearly there wasn't anyplace else left to go from here.

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.