The Eagles have released offensive lineman Shawn Andrews, the team announced today.
"We appreciate the efforts and contributions of Shawn while he was here," coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "We have, however, decided to move in another direction."
Andrews, who has been in Southern California rehabbing his back, wrote on his Twitter account, "Bye, Bye Birds ......" He also wrote that he plans on continuing to play football.
The release of Andrews closes the book on one of the more turbulent chapters in Reid's tenure with the Eagles. In six seasons, Andrews went from first-round draft pick to Pro Bowl guard to incognito. Two years ago, he publicly battled with depression and since then he has hardly played as he's dealt with back issues.
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There wasn't much science behind the release, according to team sources. It was just time to move on.
Andrews also wrote on Twitter, "ANDY REID!!! Respekt!!!!!!!"
Andrews has used Twitter to openly write about all phases of his life, but he has, on several occassions, used the Internet forum to express his respect for Reid and how he's handled his situation. He also wrote today:
-- "Todays theme song: "Take These Broken Wings" Learn to Fly again learn to just soar free"
-- "It doesn't hurt as bad when u expekt the un expekted! GOD knows what he's doing... Chuuuuch"
-- "Still "finna" have a kick butt therapy session..People told me I would be a pro ball player, & they also say I cant be a successful Comedian"
He played in the first two games of the 2008 season, but lower back issues forced him to the sideline and eventually under the knife. He arrived for training camp this past July seemingly in good spirits. But on the first day of camp he tweaked his back during a conditioning run and was back on the sidelines. He returned at one point, but never played in a preseason game. After the first game of the season, the Eagles placed him on Injured Reserve.
The 27-year-old Andrews had a second back surgery in October and has spent the last several months recovering outside Los Angeles. A week after the Eagles restructured the contract for his older brother Stacy, however, the Eagles decided to part ways with their former top pick.
"I love my brother," Stacy Andrews wrote in a text message to The Inquirer. "It's a sad day for me. I wanted to play beside my brother in the National Football League. But I know he's working his tail off and he will be back."
Shawn Andrews was slated to earn $2.45 million in salary this coming season.
In the 2004 draft, the Eagles moved up to draft Andrews, a massive tackle out of Arkansas. He had ballooned up to near 400 pounds that offseason, but said it was because his mother had lost her job. He dropped the weight that summer and won the starting right guard spot during camp. He fractured his right fibula in the first game, however, and was lost for the season.
Andrews came back, though, and by 2006 had become one of the best guards in the NFL. He reached the Pro Bowl for the second straight year in 2007, but that would be the peak of his Eagles career.
When training camp commenced in 2008, Andrews was a no-show. Eventually, he said that he was absent because of issues related to depression. The Eagles welcomed him back, but the road got only weirder. Andrews began holding long interview sessions in front of his locker. Sometimes he had a mohawk, other times the mohawk was painted orange.
After missing most of the 2008 season, he returned for minicamp in April, 2009. He admitted to the New York Times, however, that he was still on medication and that he was worried about his health. He was always singing in the locker room and made several YouTube videos. He has said before that he wants to have a career in the music industry.
The long, rambling interviews outside his locker stall continued until he was placed on IR last Septemeber and was jettisoned to California.
He's not coming back to Philadelphia now.