|ESPN.com: NFL||[Print without images]|
Danny Watkins, the Canadian firefighter who became a first-round draft choice, was released by the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday.
The move removed another reminder of the decisions that marked the last two declining seasons of the Andy Reid era. New coach Chip Kelly said he gave every player a clean slate, but Watkins was never able to move into the starting offensive line.
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Watkins was a firefighter in his native Kelowna, British Columbia. He didn't start playing football until he was 22 years old and a Butte College student. He moved on to play at Baylor, and caught NFL scouts' attention at the Senior Bowl in 2011.
Although he was already 26, the Eagles used the 23rd pick of the 2011 draft on Watkins. With no offseason workouts because of the NFL lockout, he had just one training camp to prepare for his rookie season. Watkins was inserted into the lineup at right guard, where he started 12 games.
By 2012, his difficulties mastering line coach Howard Mudd's techniques had Watkins fighting for hs starting job. He started six games and played in five more as a backup. Injuries kept him sidelined for five games.
When the Eagles drafted Lane Johnson in the first round this year, Todd Herremans moved from right tackle to right guard. Kelly values versatility in his backups, so Allen Barbre and undrafted rookie Matt Tobin moved ahead of Watkins on the depth chart. Watkins, 29, is guaranteed just over $1 million for 2013.