Mitchell talked his way out of Philly

Updated: May 9, 2005, 3:36 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Freddie Mitchell has talked his way out of Philadelphia.

In a move that was no surprise, the Eagles released Mitchell on Friday, cutting ties with the wide receiver after four seasons where he never lived up to his promise as a first-round pick.

Freddie Mitchell
Wide Receiver
Philadelphia Eagles
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
22 377 2 17.1 60 54

"We appreciate everything Freddie has contributed to the Eagles organization over the last four years," coach Andy Reid said. "By releasing him now, it gives him the opportunity for a new start with another team in the NFL."

Mitchell, picked in the first round out of UCLA in 2001, made more news off the field than on it, labeling himself with a seemingly endless list of self-promoting nicknames like "The People's Champ," "FredEx," and "First-Down Freddie." Before the Super Bowl, Mitchell offended some Patriots when he dissed their secondary in an ESPN interview.

Mitchell said he just knew the numbers -- not the names -- of New England's cornerbacks. He singled out Rodney Harrison, saying he "has something" for the veteran strong safety. Mitchell also called out New England coach Bill Belichick.

Unhappy over his role as the slot receiver and overshadowed by Terrell Owens, Mitchell criticized his teammates for not backing him up when he trashed talked the Patriots and blasted Donovan McNabb for lacking confidence in him as a go-to receiver.

Mitchell was told not to come to Philadelphia's first mandatory mini-camp last week.

"I told him I did not want him here," Reid said.

Mitchell played in 63 career games and had 90 catches for 1,263 yards and five touchdowns, but never posted more than 35 catches in a season. His best season came in 2003, when he had 35 catches, and became a very good third-down receiver out of the slot.

On the field, he was best known for his catch on a fourth-and-26 play that kept Philadelphia's season alive in the NFC divisional playoff game against Green Bay in January 2004.

Mitchell, 26, had two seasons remaining on the original six-year contract he signed as a first-round pick in the 2001 draft, and was scheduled for base salaries of $540,000 in 2005 and of $600,000 for 2006.

It will be interesting to see, now that Mitchell is free, how many teams demonstrate interest. There had been some rumblings that Tampa Bay might be inclined to consider Mitchell, but the Bucs on Friday officially signed veteran free agent wide receiver Ike Hilliard to the one-year contract, an accord reported by ESPN.com earlier in the week.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli was used in this report.