Jason Avant overcame dealing drugs and gang life as a youth to forge an NFL career. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The Philadelphia Eagles have released wide receiver Jason Avant, the team announced on Tuesday. Pro Football Talk first reported Avant's departure from Philadelphia, where the receiver spent eight seasons.
Avant's release was not unexpected as the Eagles continue to adjust their roster to fit second-year head coach Chip Kelly's offense. Avant was scheduled to receive a $1 million roster bonus on March 15 and would have counted close to $4 million against the cap this season -- a figure expected to be too high as the Eagles attempt to pay for wideouts DeSean Jackson ($12.7 million), Riley Cooper ($5 million) and Jeremy Maclin (up to $6 million).
Avant, known around the NFL for his sure hands and locker room presence, leaves the Eagles with 297 receptions for 3,646 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has played his entire NFL career in Philadelphia after being drafted in the fourth round in 2006 from the University of Michigan. In 2010, Avant's teammates voted him the Eagles' Ed Block Courage Award recipient to recognize how the receiver had overcome dealing drugs and gang life as a youth to become one of the NFL's most respected players.
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From the team's announcement:
“There have not been any players who have represented the Philadelphia Eagles with more class and dignity than Jason Avant,” said Eagles Chairman Jeffrey Lurie. “Whether it was in the locker room, on the playing field or in the community, he has always been a true professional, a role model and a winner every step of the way. On behalf of the entire organization, I wish Jason and his wife Stacy, and their two daughters, nothing but the best as he continues his fine career.”