PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Saturday, the Eagles will reduce their roster to 53 players. It will be a difficult day for Chip Kelly.
The Eagles head coach will be responsible for telling 22 players that their days as a Philadelphia Eagle are over. For Kelly, it is perhaps the toughest part of being a head coach in the National Football League.
“It hasn’t changed,” said Kelly. “Their lifelong dream is to be an NFL football player and then to be the one that has to tell them that it’s not going to happen here is difficult. It’s part of the job, but it’s not a fun part of the job.”
There are several roster spots still undecided heading into Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jets.
One of the fiercest competitions is at running back. Chris Polk has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, and backs such as Matthew Tucker and Henry Josey have made the most of their extra playing time. Polk understands that nothing is certain heading into the final preseason game.
“I treat every day like it’s my last day,” Polk said. “You never know what’s going to happen. It’s always on the line. I wasn’t promised anything. I’m not guaranteed anything. Being that we have a great host of backs, I’m renting space here.”
There is also plenty of speculation with the Eagles kickers, as Alex Henery has struggled during the preseason. Henery is expected to split time on Thursday with Cody Parkey, but the incumbent kicker isn’t worried about competing for his job.
“I never really see it as a competition,” said Henery. “It’s one of those things where you’re out there as an individual with the snapper and holder. You’re just trying to do the best you can and make the kick.”
Kelly would not rule out making more changes after cutdown day. The coach said there is always the chance the Eagles could pick up players released by other teams before the regular season opener on September 7th. Either way, Kelly will be happy to get through his cuts.
“You have to be as human as you can with it,” Kelly said. “But it’s always a difficult time.”
The Eagles trimmed their roster to 75 players on Tuesday by waiving Offensive Lineman Julian Vandervelde. The two sides reached an injury settlement.
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