Every one of those players was a Pro Bowler at one point and yet, piece-by-piece, the team’s front office has slowly, but surely, dismantled the hard-hitting, ball-hawking quartet until today, when they finally traded away the last member of the group in Sheldon Brown.
Earlier today, Brown was traded to the Cleveland Browns, along with outside linebacker Chris Gocong.
In return, the Eagles received linebacker Alex Hall and two draft picks in this month’s three-day draft (a fourth-round selection, 105th overall, and a fifth-round pick, 137th overall).
Brown, who last offseason publicly voiced his dissatisfaction with his current contract, has played every game since the Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2002 draft.
Actually, Sheldon claims he hasn’t missed a game since sixth grade. Last season, he played through a hamstring injury in the Eagles’ victory at Chicago.
In 2003, Brown played despite suffering from a sports hernia.
Brown's departure now opens the door for a training camp battle at his spot, a battle that more than likely will include Ellis Hobbs, Joselio Hanson, and maybe recently signed Marlin Jackson (although, Jackson is expected to compete for the starting free safety spot).
After selecting Chris Gocong, in the third-round of the 2006 draft out of Cal Poly, the Eagles converted the former Division I-AA defensive end into a linebacker.
The conversion process was not a complete bust, but it was not quite what the Eagles were looking for.
The jury is still out on the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Alex Hall, whom Cleveland selected in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. A backup in his first two seasons (he has two career starts), Hall will compete with Moise Fokou at strongside linebacker.
So, the purge of veteran players continues for Philadelphia, as Brown and Gocong now join a list of recently departed Eagles that includes former All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook, former All-Pro guard Shawn Andrews, linebacker Will Witherspoon, defensive end Darren Howard, and wide receiver Kevin Curtis.
Interestingly enough, the most talked about trade rumors surrounding an Eagles veteran this offseason have centered on quarterback Donovan McNabb, who as of today, is still a member of the team.