Jarrett was one of only three safeties active in Sunday's opener at Cleveland, but safety special-teams ace Colt Anderson is close to returning from ACL surgery, and David Sims, picked up from the Browns at the end of the preseason, might be closer to being comfortable this week.
By the time it happened, Jarrett's release wasn't a shock. Jarrett struggled to get on the field last year as a rookie, was victimized by Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald in his first start Nov. 13. The official reasoning then was that Jarrett had a hard time picking up the defense, deprived of offseason work by the NFL lockout; but that excuse didn't explain why Jarrett couldn't contribute more on special teams. He looked lost in all phases; renowned as a textbook tackler and fearsome hitter at Temple, he seemed to lack both the speed and the frame to back up that reputation in the NFL.
"He's the best tackler that I've been around in my 21 years as a player and a coach," then-Temple coach Al Golden said at draft time. "I've never seen anyone tackle like he does in the open field."
Unless he returns sometime down the road, Jarrett will be remembered by Eagles fans for his attempt to tackle Pittsburgh's Jonathan Dwyer in this year's preseason opener at the Linc Aug. 9. Jarrett launched himself at an angle that caused him to fly past Dwyer and wipe out Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry.
That was one of several misplays for Jarrett, given a surprise start that night. Jarrett actually played better - against second- and third-teamers - the rest of the preseason, well enough to make the opening roster after veterans Tom Nelson and O.J. Atogwe saw injuries blunt their attempts to make the team.
But Jarrett again struggled on special teams Sunday in Cleveland, whiffing on returner Josh Cribbs in the open field and suffering a shoulder strain. He beats the record for previous earliest cut of a high pick, held by 2001 second-round linebacker Quinton Caver, who at least made it to October 2002. Caver also was done in by poor special-teams play, in addition to not fitting into the defense.
The only player drafted higher than Jarrett in 2011 who has been released is former Villanova and Indianapolis guard Ben Ijalana, waived-injured after his second ACL tear.
There is an irony to the 25-year-old Gilyard replacing Jarrett on the roster. Gilyard was a fourth-round pick of the Rams in 2010, out of Cincinnati, who caught just six passes for 63 yards as a rookie and was cut before the 2011 season. There were reports Gilyard had trouble learning the Rams' offense.
But Gilyard (6-1, 187) caught nine passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns this preseason with the Eagles, at the end of an excellent training camp. Only the Birds' strong depth at the position kept him from making the roster.
The team also made a practice squad move Tuesday, releasing tight end Chase Ford in favor of another tight end, Derek Carrier, who was axed by the Raiders in their final roster cutdown.
Contact Les Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.