Eagles release Pinkston, but bring back QB Feeley

Updated: August 31, 2006, 12:36 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Just one day after granting wide receiver Todd Pinkston permission to discuss possible trades with other teams, the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday morning released the five-year veteran, making him a free agent and able to sign with any other franchise.

Detmer out, Feeley returns
 A. J. Feeley
In a move that shakes up the team's quarterback depth chart, the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday released 10th-year veteran Koy Detmer and signed A.J. Feeley, who had been jettisoned on Monday by San Diego, to a two-year contract.

Feeley, 29, began his career with the Eagles in 2001, as a fifth-round draft choice, and he spent three years in Philadelphia before being traded to Miami in 2004. After a dismal 2004 season with the Dolphins, he was dealt to the Chargers in 2005.

Almost as interesting as Feeley's return to the Eagles is the departure of Detmer, a respected veteran who was well respected by his teammates, and who for years was the backup to Donovan McNabb. Notable as well is that Detmer served as the holder for kicker David Akers, a chore many felt would allow him to keep a spot on the roster.

The exit of Detmer, 33, means that veteran Jeff Garcia, signed as an unrestricted free agent this spring, has won the No. 2 job behind McNabb on the depth chart. Garcia has played well in preseason and, after the Eagles suffered through a stint in which Mike McMahon was the starter in 2005 after McNabb's season-ending hernia surgery, he represents an upgrade at the position.

Clearly, the Philadelphia staff is familiar with Feeley, and feels it can resuscitate his flagging career. Details of Feeley's contract with the Eagles were not immediately available.

The former University of Oregon standout started six games in 2002, when McNabb was injured, and won five of those starts. He also started eight games for the Dolphins in 2004. For his career, he has completed 287 of 524 passes for 3,047 yards, with 19 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions.

A celebrated college quarterback at the University of Colorado, Detmer was chosen by the Eagles in the seventh round of the 1997 draft, and has played his entire career with the franchise. He appeared in 103 games, most of them as the holder for placement kicks, and started nine contests. Detmer completed 184 of 354 passes for 1,944 yards, with 10 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.

-- ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli

There figures to be a handful of teams with varying degrees of interest in Pinkston, who was victimized by a Philadelphia depth chart suddenly glutted by the Monday trade that brought the Eagles speedy fifth-year veteran Donte' Stallworth, and by the preseason performance of several younger players.

One of those teams could be the Minnesota Vikings, who could use a veteran wide receiver to augment their current corps of pass-catchers. First-year Vikings coach Brad Childress is the former offensive coordinator of the Eagles and is familiar with Pinkston's history.

What most teams will have to determine in considering Pinkston is the status of his health. The six-year veteran, who missed the entire 2005 season with a torn right Achilles, has been limited for much of training camp and the preseason.

As of Tuesday afternoon, with agent Joel Segal working the phones with permission from the Eagles, three teams had indicated an interest in Pinkston, a second-round selection in the 2000 draft. At least two of the three receiver-needy franchises would likely view Pinkston as a starter, if he is healthy. Pinkston conceded, though, he is not pain-free yet as he continues recover from the Achilles injury suffered last summer in training camp.

Even with permission to seek a trade, the odds that a team would acquire Pinkston in a deal with the Eagles were slim. It was obvious that, with the glut of wide receivers, Pinkston could be nudged out of a job, and so most teams were willing to gamble that he would be released. Philadelphia is set at the two starting wideout spots, with Stallworth and second-year veteran Reggie Brown, and the coaches like some of the youngsters they've brought in, too.

Any teams interested in Pinkston likely will be attracted by his outstanding deep speed and career average of 15.3 yards per catch.

During camp this summer, Pinkston has battled tendinitis in both Achilles, and he has missed considerable practice time. Not until last week was Pinkston able to log an entire week of full-speed practices, and his appearance in last Friday night's exhibition victory over Pittsburgh was his first of the preseason. He had one reception for four yards.

A former Southern Mississippi standout, the reed-thin Pinkston has played in 78 games, including 68 as a starter, and has 184 receptions for 2,816 yards and 14 touchdowns. His best season was in 2002, when he had 60 catches for 798 yards and seven touchdowns.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.