Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid decided to change punters Tuesday.
The team released Chas Henry and re-signed Mat McBriar to a two-year contract.
McBriar, 33, a two-time Pro Bowler while with Dallas, was with the Eagles during training camp and the preseason before being released during the final roster cuts earlier this month. McBriar underwent surgery in February to remove a cyst that had formed on a nerve behind his left knee, leaving him with drop foot.
McBriar, a native of Australia, ranks fifth in NFL history with a 45.3-yard career average.
The move was odd, considering Henry is currently ranked eighth in the NFL with a 48.3-yard gross average and had three punts that traveled 60 yards or more. He was ranked just 22nd with a 38-yard net average, but that was due in part to the Eagles’ inconsistent punt coverage.
Henry, 23, who was the Eagles’ punter as a rookie last season, got off to a strong start this season by averaging a franchise-record 55 yards per kick in the opener at Cleveland. He averaged just 39.2 yards against Baltimore but rebounded with 49.2 yards on five punts in Sunday’s 27-6 loss at Arizona.
When Reid, who was not available for comment Tuesday, discussed the problems that contributed to the defeat to the Cardinals, Henry’s punting was not on the list.
The move also affects place-kicker Alex Henery, since McBriar will replace Henry as the holder. In addition, long snapper Jon Dorenbos’ status is in doubt for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants because of a high ankle sprain.
The Eagles added long snapper Kyle Nelson to the practice squad Tuesday in the event Dorenbos won’t be available and released wide receiver Jeremy Ebert from the practice squad. Nelson was with San Francisco during the preseason but was cut. He originally signed as a free agent with New Orleans in 2011 and spent time on Kansas City’s practice squad that season.
Contact David Weinberg: