Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins quickly assimilated himself into the fabric of the Eagles locker room after he was signed as a free agent last July. Jenkins came to Philadelphia fresh off a Super Bowl win with Green Bay and his rise from rookie free agent to top-tier free agent earned respect in the locker room.
During his first year with the Eagles, Jenkins was named a Pro Bowl alternate after registering 5.5 sacks with his interior pass rush capability. He was a dynamic, yet consistent, force on the field starting in all 16 games. Off the field, Jenkins was blunt about the team's struggles, but preached faith in the team. He always recounted the story of the 2006 Green Bay Packers team that started 4-8 and won their final four games to finish .500 - just like the 2011 Eagles eventually did.
Once the season was over, Jenkins admitted that his high salary cap number for 2012 could complicate the Eagles' ability to re-sign their own free agents or add new players. Instead of heading back to the open market for another potential pay day, the 31-year-old Jenkins decided that he wants to continue to be a part of the Eagles' long-term plans. On Tuesday, Jenkins agreed to restructure his contract which should allow him to retire an Eagle.
"I wanted to have something where it would be a lot more realistic to move forward in the long term and I think we were able to accomplish that," Jenkins said noting the roots his family has planted in the Philadelphia area. "I wanted to be able to retire an Eagle. I want to be able to retire out here and finish my career as an Eagle. That was something we took into consideration."
Jenkins said on a conference call with reporters that he was informed on Friday that the Eagles wanted to discuss re-working his deal. Jenkins traveled on Friday to Orlando for his daughter's gymnastics competition. By the time he returned home on Monday, Jenkins learned that the new deal was complete.
"I didn't even want to try and get to the point where I was trying to make a decision about other spots," said Jenkins, who enters his ninth season in 2012. "I just wanted to try and see if I could get this thing done here as soon as possible, so I wouldn't even have to worry about those scenarios."
When discussing the story of that 2006 Packers squad, Jenkins always finished with how the team missed the playoffs that season but won 13 games and reached the NFC title game the following year. Jenkins believes his teammates will be hungry and focused to get 2012 started on the right note and is happy to see that the coaching staff is back as well.
"It makes you feel a lot more comfortable, especially off all of the success and all of the improvement that we started to see and build up to at the end of last season," Jenkins said.
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