All Chas Henry wanted was a fair shot.
He got it and he has a spot on the 53-man roster as the Eagles released two-time Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar on Friday.
"It really helped me out going through adversity. Mat is a tremendous punter. He's unbelievable. He's a two-time Pro Bowler. It speaks for itself," Henry said. "He's a great guy. What made it easier is that we got along really well. It was a great competition from the beginning. I thought it kind of brought out the best in both of us."
McBriar agreed to terms with the Eagles on July 25 and was immediately placed atop the depth chart. A rookie free agent in 2011, Henry averaged 42.9 gross yards per punt and 36.9 net yards per punt as a rookie. Henry had nine touchbacks and landed 19 punts inside the 20-yard line. His best performance of the year came in the season finale when he averaged 50.3 yards per punt (45.5 yards net) in the win over the Redskins. Henry was also the holder for kicker Alex Henery's record-setting rookie campaign.
The winner of the 2010 Ray Guy Award for college's best punter, Henry committed himself to making the most of the opportunity against the veteran McBriar.
"It's one of those great life lessons. When you're faced with adversity like that, you know how you have a slim chance to make the team, all you can do is go out and do your best each day," Henry said. "That's kind of what I told myself is every day I'm going out and I'm second string and I'm the underdog."
Henry simply wanted to have a fair shot to win the job and the coaches assured him of that. The punter battle was very competitive through the preseason. McBriar's gross and net averages were much better than Henry's averages, but Henry typically worked with a shorter field as he downed eight of his 12 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Henry was also the holder for Henery's game-winning 51-yard field goal in the preseason opener against the Steelers.
"The whole time I just kept asking as long as I have a shot here that's all I want; just a shot to compete and win the job," Henry said. "I'm obviously excited because this is what I worked for."
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