PHILADELPHIA - Eagles defensive end Trent Cole was actually with Jason Babin when coach Andy Reid called Tuesday to tell him he was being released.
"He was over my house," Cole said Wednesday. "We were just hanging out in my garage when he got a phone call and told me he was cut. At first, I thought he was just playing around. I said, 'C'mon man, you're lying.' But he wasn't lying. He was serious."
The Eagles released Babin a day after their 30-22 loss to Carolina dropped their record to 3-8 and left them in last place in the NFC.
Babin, who made the Pro Bowl last season with a team-high 18 sacks, collected one against Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to raise his total this season to 5 1/2. But he was also among the three Eagles defensive linemen - end Brandon Graham and tackle Cedric Thornton were the others - who were penalized for being offsides on consecutive plays during Carolina's game-clinching drive.
"There's a reason for everything, but I don't know the reason for this," Cole said. "It wasn't a lack of productivity and he didn't quit on the team. Jason Babin went hard on every play."
Reid explained in a statement Tuesday that Babin was cut in order to give more opportunities to some of their younger defensive ends such as Graham, rookie Vinny Curry and Phillip Hunt.
Graham, who actually started against the Panthers at left defensive end instead of Babin, will stay in the lineup.
"This was definitely an eye-opener for me," Graham said. "Just when you think you're safe in this league, you can be gone. I plan on taking this opportunity and making the most of it."