On Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles parted ways with the longest-tenured player on the roster in defensive tackle Mike Patterson. A former first-round pick of the Eagles in 2005 out of USC, Patterson was one of the true blue-collar players in the locker room providing the team with tough, hard-nosed football for eight seasons.
"I want to thank the fans for all of their support over eight years in Philadelphia. It is never easy to say good bye to a fan base that supported me no matter what. My goal was to come to work every day to try and make the Philadelphia Eagles the best organization we could be," Patterson said. "The Eagles organization has treated me and my family with nothing but respect since the day I was drafted and I wish Mr. (Jeffrey) Lurie, Howie (Roseman), the new coaches and all of my teammates all the best going forward. I will miss them all and I will always have a place in my heart for the Eagles and for the city of Philadelphia."
Roseman called Patterson "one of the toughest players" he has ever been around in the National Football League.
"He has overcome many obstacles throughout his career and I have the upmost respect for him because of it," Roseman said. "Coach (Chip) Kelly and I each had a great conversations today with him. He is a class act. He gave this organization eight great seasons of hard work and dedication and we wish him all the best as he continues his career in this league."
Earlier in the day, the Eagles released another defensive tackle in Cullen Jenkins. This year's draft is stockpiled with talent along the defensive line and the team already has two promising players in Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton as they transition to coordinator Bill Davis' new defense.
"For us, up front, obviously you talk about guys like Fletcher Cox, young guys like Cedric Thornton," Roseman said. "Guys who worked really hard and have a chance to be really good players."
A truly dedicated player, Patterson played in 2011 despite suffering a seizure during a Training Camp practice. A blessing in disguise, the seizure revealed a rare brain condition called AVM, a tangling of blood vessels. Patterson delayed the procedure to remove it and returned to action just 17 days after the seizure. He was named the Ed Block Courage Award winner by his teammates at the end of the season.
The 29-year-old Patterson was a two-time USA Today All-Joe Team selection which honors the best players in the NFL who have not earned a Pro Bowl selection. In all, Patterson played in 122 games (including playoffs) and started in 106 of those contests. He recorded 551 tackles, 16.5 sacks, seven fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and an interception. In 2007, Patterson led the defensive line with 114 tackles and posted a career-best 4.0 sacks. He scored a memorable 98-yard touchdown on a fumble return against San Francisco in 2006. It was the longest fumble return in franchise history.
Until this season, Patterson had only missed two games in his NFL career. He missed the first seven games of 2012 as he returned from surgery to correct the brain AVM. Patterson contracted viral pneumonia late in the season and was sidelined for the final four games.
With the release of Patterson, offensive tackle Todd Herremans, a fourth-round pick in 2005, becomes the team's longest-tenured player.
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