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Kelly: Evan Mathis requested release multiple times

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Speaking to reporters for the first time since releasing Evan Mathis last week, Eagles coach Chip Kelly revealed that representatives for the Pro Bowl guard had asked for his release on "multiple occasions" since the start of free agency in March.

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"We weren't going to change his contract," Kelly explained, "so we granted that."

Kelly held out for trade opportunities as long as he could, but ultimately to no avail.

"If he didn't want to be here, I wanted him to get whatever he can get," Kelly continued. "I hope it works out for him. He was great for us in the two years that we had him. I like Evan a lot. If he wants to get released to see what he can get better then we released him. ... I'm not going to hold guys out."

It's a risky move by Mathis' camp.

Although agent Drew Rosenhaus recently disclosed that at least a half-dozen teams have expressed interest in Mathis, it's dubious that the 33-year-old zone-blocker will top the $6.5 million guaranteed that the Eagles were reportedly offering in base salary for the 2015 season.

Where do the Eagles turn to replace Mathis?

Kelly acknowledged that the organization is "obviously down a good player" with Mathis' release, but also praised veteran Allen Barbre as a capable starter.

"Allen Barbre is a really good football player," Kelly said. "We have plenty of confidence in him."

At the other guard spot, Kelly noted that Matt Tobin needs to improve his consistency to hold off "good competition" in the form of Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly and Kevin Graf.

With question marks at Mathis' old left guard spot, we're skeptical of left tackle Jason Peters' claim that the Cowboys "can't touch" the Eagles for offensive line quality.

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