Jamaal Jackson, the Eagles' longest-tenured player, was released on Wednesday.
Originally signed by the Eagles as a rookie free agent in 2003, Jackson started 77 regular season and postseason games in his nine years with the team. At one point, Jackson started 71 straight games from 2005-09. Following the 2006 season, Jackson was named to Sports Illustrated's All-Pro team.
"I want to thank the fans for their everlasting support of me and my family during my tenure here. I wish you all and the Eagles the very best!" said Jackson via his Twitter account @CenterStage67. "I want to thank the Eagles for giving me the opportunity of representing their organization in a respectable manner. I appreciate everything!"
Jackson was replaced as the starting center this past season by rookie Jason Kelce. At 6-4, 325 pounds, Jackson wasn't an ideal fit for offensive line coach Howard Mudd's scheme which relies more on quicker, athletic players. A consummate professional, Jackson never complained about the demotion and was helpful in Kelce's transition to the NFL. By releasing Jackson, the Eagles will reportedly save $1.485 million in cap space this season, according to eaglescap.com. Jackson was under contract through 2013.
With Jackson no longer in the fold, defensive tackle Mike Patterson - the team's first-round pick in 2005 - is the longest-tenured Eagle. Currently backing up Kelce at center are two rookies from a year ago in Julian Vandervelde and Zane Taylor.
After spending his rookie season on the practice squad, Jackson was on injured reserve for the 2004 run to the Super Bowl. In 2005, Jackson got his opportunity to start at center for an injured Hank Fraley and made the most of it. Prior to the start of training camp in 2006, Jackson inked a seven-year contract extension which cemented his ascension to the starting lineup.
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