Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins entered free agency coming off of a career year and a Super Bowl title.
The 30-year-old had a career-high 7.0 sacks for the Packers and is versatile enough to play either in a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme. However, when it came time to pick a new team Jenkins thought that there would be more suitors lining up for his services. Jenkins would not specify the other teams interested, but he looked at the situation as just another slight in his career.
"It's a good thing to some extent because I feel very motivated right now because of that," said Jenkins, who agreed to terms on a five-year deal Saturday. "Me and my wife (Pashun) talked about ever since I've come into the league nothing's come easy, you know, so why should this be any different? So I'm going to stay with the attitude that I've always had and obviously, I have added motivation with it, and we're going to get out there and get after it and you know, just be on a mission to go win."
A rookie free agent signing of the Packers out of Central Michigan in 2004, Jenkins has played in 93 games (66 starts) and racked up 271 tackles, 29.0 sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and an interception. The Eagles look to Jenkins to bolster the team's interior pass rush in defensive line coach Jim Washburn's new scheme.
"I always prided myself on being versatile and being able to play in any system or position up front. When I first came into the league, I was always told what I wouldn't be able to do because of my size, lack of size, lack of speed. I can always hang my hat on what I can do for any scheme," Jenkins said. "Getting here and getting in this scheme and seeing what Coach Washburn does with the defensive line, they can't help but be excited."
In addition to his pass rush skills, Jenkins is one of only five players on the roster with a Super Bowl ring - safety Marlin Jackson, tight end Donald Lee, wide receiver Sinorice Moss and cornerback Asante Samuel are the others. Jenkins and the Packers beat the Eagles en route to the Super Bowl last season. Jenkins understands that his addition helps raise the expectations for the Eagles who hope to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia this season. But Jenkins admitted that those expectations could become a burden if not put in the proper context.
"Last year in Green Bay, early in the season a lot of people were picking us to do well, but we didn't have the success right away because I think it was expected a little bit," Jenkins said. "And we were still doing well but we weren't quite there yet as a team until we got our backs up against the wall. And once you get your back up against the wall and you have to do it, there was no more worrying about how good we were or where do people rank us, or this or that, then you have that mindset where you have to go out there and fight for your lives. And I think that's something regardless of how much talent this team has, we have to have that mindset that we have to go out and fight for our lives every game."
Jenkins might not have felt as wanted as he would have liked in free agency. But Eagles fans are certainly glad that he's on board.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider