Eagles release 53-man roster; Vick exempt

New York Jets defensive end Jamaal Westerman (55) sacks Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7), forcing a fumble during the third quarter of an NFL preseason football game at Giants Stadium, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Eagles announced their 53-man roster tonight and the most significant news was not the cuts, but who made the team.

There was the belief that quarterback A.J. Feeley would be released, but the team kept the 32-year old on the roster -- for now -- and placed Michael Vick on the commissioner's special exempt list. Vick is suspended for the first two games of the season and will be reinstated by Week 3. As long as he remains on the exempt list, he can't practice.

"We can change that at any time," Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said on a conference call. "We can make him active tomorrow, next week or any time during the suspension. That's not a thing that we're stuck with until the suspension is over. ... As far as [Feeley], I'm not going to get into the trade stuff."

The Eagles likely held on to Feeley because they hope to trade him in the coming days. If and when Feeley is dealt, the team would have to make a decision whether to add Vick to the 53-man roster or keep him as exempt.

As for the Eagles' final roster, given recent history, it wouldn’t be surprising if they continued to tinker with it as they comb the waiver wire tonight and tomorrow.

Defensive tackle Dan Klecko and fullback Kyle Eckel were among the most prominent cuts. Wide receiver Reggie Brown made the team, as did rookie wideout Brandon Gibson, so the Eagles currently have seven at that position.

"We're trying the keep the best 53 guys and it's just the way it turned out this year we like all those guys," Heckert said. "Things could change any day here with trades or whatever happens on the waiver wire tonight. We think all seven guys can play in the league."

Back in April, not many -- including Heckert -- would have given running back Eldra Buckley and cornerback Dimitri Patterson a chance of making the team. But that's exactly what happened. Buckley improved his pass-catching with each week, was effective on the ground and was a willing special teams performer. Heckert said the Eagles originally acquired Patterson hoping he would contribute on special teams, but they came to love his cover skills at cornerback.

Here is the roster by position as of right now:


Quarterbacks (3): Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley.
Running backs (4): Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Leonard Weaver, Eldra Buckley.
Wide receivers (7): DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett, Brandon Gibson, Reggie Brown.
Offensive line (10): Shawn Andrews, Stacy Andrews, Jamaal Jackson, Todd Herremans, Jason Peters, Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles, Winston Justice, King Dunlap, Mike McGlynn.
Tight ends (2): Brent Celek, Tony Curtis.


Defensive line (9): Trent Cole, Brodrick Bunkley, Mike Patterson, Victor Abiamiri, Juqua Parker, Darren Howard, Chris Clemons, Trevor Laws, Jason Babin.
Linebackers (6): Chris Gocong, Omar Gaither, Akeem Jordan, Joe Mays, Moise Fokou, Tracy White.
Cornerbacks (5): Sheldon Brown, Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs, Joselio Hanson, Dmitri Patterson.
Safeties (4): Quintin Mikell, Quintin Demps, Sean Jones, Victor Harris.


Kicker: David Akers.
Punter: Sav Rocca.
Long snapper: Jon Dorenbos.

As for the players that didn't make the cut, the Eagles waived CB Trae Williams, CB Jack Ikegwuonu, DE Bryan Smith, DE Josh Gaines, LB Tank Daniels, FS Reshard Langford, WR Danny Amendola, RB Lorenzo Booker, C Dallas Reynolds, G Paul Fanaika, G Mike Gibson, TE Rob Myers, FB Marcus Mailei and Eckel. These players are now subject to waivers.

The Eagles released LB Matt Wilhelm, TE Matt Schobel and Klecko. These players are now unrestricted free agents.

The Eagles placed OT Fenuki Tupou on injured reserve with a chest injury (wink-wink). He joins linebacker Stewart Bradley and tight end Cornelius Ingram.

Smith and Ikegwuonu were drafted last April, but they apparently didn't do enough in a year and half to warrant the picks the Eagles expended.

"We still like Jack and we'll see what happens here in the next day or two," Heckert said. "And the same thing with Bryan. ... He was in a battle there with Jason Babin and Jason Babin was just more productive this preseason."

The Eagles have the luxury of adding eight players to its practice squad and will do so in the next few days. Any player on that list, however, can be claimed by another team as long as the player is willing to leave.