Cullen Jenkins could just shake his head and say, "He took all of the heat for all of our failures on the field."
And so it went, on the day Eagles fired coach Andy Reid.
The press was allowed into the NovaCare Complex at 11 am, an hour after Reid addressed the team following his firing. Several players said the team gave Reid a standing ovation when he was finished talking. Then, the ritual collection of belongings in trash bags began. Most of the players were gone by the time reporters entered the locker room.
For those who were there, several feelings were common and pervasive: regret, disappointment, sadness for Reid, guilt at the part that they played in his demise. But, as safety Kurt Coleman said, "I can't say I feel guilty because I gave everything I had on every play. But, as a player, do I feel I had a hand in it? Absolutely."
"He's meant so much to us," said rookie quarterback Nick Foles. "He's been our leader. He's been our rock. It's tough on the players. It's just one of those days, a tough day."
When asked about the final team meeting, running back LeSean McCoy said, "He had a lot of relationships with a lot of different players. It was definitely emotional, for me as well. The whole meeting was...We just felt his pain. Being in a place for so long, and being so successful..."
This firing was hardly unexpected. As the weeks rolled on, and the losses mounted, it was impossible for the players not to contemplate this day. Still, well..
I was hoping for the best," wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said, on a day that was the worst for the people in the Eagles' locker room.