cullenjenkins

Cullen Jenkins takes one for the team…

It’s just another reason DT Cullen Jenkins is becoming one of my fave Eagles…added to his 40 tackles and 5.5 sacks last year…and the Super Bowl ring he wears from the Packers…and the fact he has quietly emerged as the team’s veteran leader in the clubhouse.

Cullen Jenkins, 6-2, 305, originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as an Undrafted Free Agent out of Central Michigan U. in 2003…spent a year in NFL Europe… the younger brother of former Carolina Panthers and N.Y. Jets DT Kris Jenkins… Age 31, Cullen Jenkins has cast his lot with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jenkins is so intent on staying with the Eagles that he didn’t mind restructuring his contract Tuesday.

“I wanted to be able to retire as an Eagle,” Jenkins said in a phone interview. “I’m not one of those types of players to bounce around and get as much as he can get. I like being here. I think it’s a great team with a great atmosphere and I wanted to stay here.”

Jenkins, 31, originally signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Eagles last July 30. Under the terms of that deal, he was due to receive a $5 million roster bonus on March 13 – the first day of the 2012 league year – and was scheduled to make $2.75 million in base salary. Terms of the restructuring weren’t announced Tuesday, but it’s likely Jenkins will not be receiving that large of a bonus in order to reduce his $7.75 million salary cap number. Had he not agreed to the restructuring there was a possibility the Eagles would have released him after just one season.

“We are very excited about having Cullen back on our football team,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said in a statement. “Cullen made an immediate impact for us this year on and off the field. We look forward to a great future together with him in an Eagles uniform.”

Jenkins enjoyed a solid season with the Eagles in 2011 after spending his first eight NFL seasons with Green Bay. The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder registered five and a half sacks – second-most among NFC defensive tackles behind Chicago’s Henry Melton (seven) – tied for second on the Eagles with seven tackles for losses, and posted 40 tackles.

Most of his sacks occurred early in the season, however. He notched four in his first three games as an Eagle, joining the late Jerome Brown as the only defensive tackles in franchise history to open a season with at least one sack in the first three games. But he had just a half-sack in the team’s final 11 games.

More significantly, he emerged as one of the team’s strongest leaders in the locker room. Jenkins, who earned a Super Bowl ring with the Packers in 2010, was respected by the Eagles’ veterans and became a mentor to the younger defensive players.

Toward the end of the season, Jenkins said he realized there was a possibility his contract would have to be reworked and made it clear to Eagles’ management that he was open to the idea.

“It was cool to get it done without any problems,” Jenkins said. “I’m actually kind of relieved because I was wondering about what could happen. People were talking that I could be released.”

At the end of the season, rumors began to circulate that Green Bay would be trying to lure Jenkins back if he became a free agent. Jenkins was one of the Packers’ more popular players and still owns a home in Green Bay. But he made it clear on Tuesday that he wanted to stay with the Eagles.

“I didn’t really think about (returning to) Green Bay,” Jenkins said. “We had great run and I’ll never forget my years there, but that time has come and passed. Now I’m an Eagle and look at myself as an Eagle and I didn’t want to get to point where I would have to make decisions with (going to other teams).”

Jenkins will be rejoining an Eagles defense that struggled through the first half of the season, but played better down the stretch.

“The biggest thing you can expect from our defense is a lot of hungry people, a lot of hungry players,” Jenkins said. “We take a lot of pride in what we do and we’re excited to try to continue the success we had at the end of the year.”

I like Jenkins’ attitude in all this…it gives me the feeling that in 2012 we are flying nicely under the radar…run silent, run deep.

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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