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Chip Kelly says Eagles released Evan Mathis to honor his agent’s request

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The Philadelphia Eagles released talented but unhappy guard Evan Mathis last week in a surprising roster move, even in light of the fact that the player and the team have been embroiled in a contract dispute that spread over the past two offseasons.

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly on Tuesday insisted the team’s decision to cut ties with the player was done to comply with repeated requests made by Mathis’ agent Drew Rosenhaus to do so.

“We were asked by his agent for a release on multiple occasions,” Kelly said, per a report from ESPN’s Phil Sheridan. “We weren’t going to come to a conclusion in terms of a contract extension. We weren’t going to extend any contract or adjust any contract, so we granted him what his agent asked for.”

Sheridan’s report indicates that Eagles gave Rosenhaus and Mathis permission to seek a trade. When no reported trade offers came about, the Eagles cut Mathis.

Mathis has skipped the team’s OTAs and voluntary workouts this offseason to articulate his unhappiness with his contract situation — he posted an image of a bonus check that amounted to $0.00 during the 2014 offseason — which involved a five-year, $25.2 million deal reached in 2012. Mathis was rebuffed when he asked the team to renegotiate his contract in 2013.

Kelly obviously hasn’t been shy about jettisoning players who have previously made significant contributions, including DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. This prompted McCoy to make the troubling accusation that Kelly was not only getting rid of star players, but “all the good black players,” something Kelly denied.

But when it came to Mathis, Kelly insists it solely revolved around getting rid of a player who seemingly didn’t want to be on the team.

“He didn’t want to be here. I wanted him to get whatever he could get,” he said. “I hope it works out for him. He was great for us the two years that we had him. I like Evan a lot. If he wants to get released to see if he can get what he can get better, then we released him.”

(image via CSN Philly)