It turns out the preseason punting competition between Chas Henry and Mat McBriar wasn't over after all. Henry got the nod going into the regular season, but after three regular season games, the Eagles have decided to reverse course. On Tuesday, the Eagles announced the release of Henry and the re-signing of McBriar, the veteran All-Pro, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys. McBriar is signed to a two-year contract.
McBriar, 33, is a native Australian who spent eight seasons with the Cowboys. He was released following the 2011 season because of a dropfoot condition. In Training Camp, the Eagles brought in McBriar, who was still not fully recovered from the dropfoot.
In three preseason games, McBriar punted eight times for a 45.5-yard average and a net average of 41.3 yards. Henry, meanwhile, punted 12 times in the preseason for a 36.1-yard average and a 33.1-yard net average, though his punts were often facing a short field. He has punted 494 times for 22,369 yards for a 45.3 career average, which ranks fifth in NFL history. McBriar's career net average is 38.4 yards and he has downed 175 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Henry, 23, started off the regular season well with a 55-yard average and 42-yard net average in Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns. But the net average for Henry dropped to 32.4 and 38.8 in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively, prompting the Eagles to move forward with McBriar.
Moving forward, McBriar, a Pro Bowler and All-Pro in 2006 and 2010, will also be under the spotlight as a holder on field goals for Alex Henery.
The Eagles also made another move on special teams, adding tight end/long snapper Kyle Nelson to the practice squad. With Jon Dorenbos on the mend with a high ankle sprain, Nelson will be brought up to speed in case Dorenbos is unable to play this Sunday night against the New York Giants. A New Mexico State product, Nelson spent the 2012 offseason with the San Francisco 49ers. He originally signed with the New Orleans Saints as a rookie free agent in 2011 and had a brief stint on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad. A native of Waco, TX, Nelson played in 50 games as a tight end at New Mexico State, catching 66 passes for 559 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Jeremy Ebert was released from the practice squad in order to make room for Nelson.
McBriar will wear jersey No. 1 and Nelson will wear No. 85.
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