04 March 2014

Farewell #81

We all pretty much knew this was coming, particularly after the Eagles offered Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin good deals, but Jason Avant's time with the Eagles has come to an end.

To quote Jeff Lurie:
There have not been any players who've represented Eagles with more class and dignity.
He was the first player to wear #81 after the T.O. debacle, and he also restored the class and dignity of the number.

Although he was never a flashy player, he is 13th on the all-time Eagles receiving yards list, and, at least at Chez Snark, was known as Jason "Hands" Avant, aka Mr. Third Down. He has specialized throughout his tenure with the Eagles in circus catches made above him, below him, behind him, on the sidelines, etc. for critical third down conversions.

Witness:

Once the starting QB position shifted to Nick Foles, though, the writing was on the wall. Jason never seemed to have the connection with Foles he enjoyed with Donovan McNabb and Mike Vick, and he became much more of a run blocker in 2013. He remained, however, an acknowledged leader of the locker room. By releasing him before the start of free agency, the Eagles give him the best possible shot at landing somewhere great, which I sincerely hope he will.

With that, I'll leave you with what may be his greatest play as an Eagle:


Typically unselfish, he laid the monster but clean block that sprang DeSean for the TD, giving himself a concussion in the process. (Have I mentioned that Chef Spouse and I were there? Because we were.)

Godspeed and good luck, Jason. I'll continue to wear your #81 jersey with pride.