Starting during mini-camps and lasting deep into the summer, there was quite a bit of debate as to whether safety and 2011 second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett would make the Eagles' 53-man roster this season. The Temple product defied doubters when cuts were announced, his name not among those on the chopping block despite a dreadful performance against Pittsburgh and tons of negative press.
Just one week into his second NFL season however, the Cinderella story is apparently over for now. With Jeremy Maclin battling a hip injury and looking questionable to make the home opener against the Ravens on Sunday, the Birds released Jarrett to make way for WR Mardy Gilyard, a former fourth-round selection by St. Louis who spent this past summer with the rest of the Birds at Lehigh.
Jarrett is eligible for the practice squad as long as another team does not claim him off of waivers, so there is still a road back to the Eagles. Once Maclin and Riley Cooper are healthy, Gilyard will likely become expendable yet again, and with safety depth a concern for the defense, Jarrett could find himself back in a matter of weeks.
Then again, that might be wishful thinking on our part. As much as we (and mostly I mean Nick) would like to see Jarrett redeem himself and not become one of the epic busts in franchise history, the fact that the coaching staff was willing to part with him 17 games into his NFL career does not bode well. At some point, you run out of excuses. Last season, it was the lockout, but what's the issue now?
Carving out a role on special teams would have helped him stick around, and he did play 25 snaps on the third unit this past Sunday. That said, he whiffed badly attempting to tackle on a Josh Cribbs punt return where the lost contain contributed to a long return that gave the Browns excellent field position.
Meanwhile, Gilyard had a very strong camp and preseason for the Birds, finishing with nine catches for 151 yards and two scores. The 5-11 Gilyard, who played his college ball at Cincinnati, spent just one season with the Rams. He caught six balls for 63 yards in 11 games as a rookie, but didn't make the cut a season later. He spent most of last year out of football, yet could wind up seeing meaningful action in the offense next week if Maclin is out.
As for Jarrett, what more can you say? With his release, he is officially and unceremoniously labeled a bust. It was a swing and a miss by the Eagles front office, a whiff by a much larger margin than any tackle or assignment the Temple safety missed during his relatively brief time with the club.
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