TAYLOR HART LATEST EAGLE LIVING LIFE ON THE NFL FRINGE
Life in the fringes of the NFL can be a little crazy. Every year dozens of players are released and re-signed throughout the year as injuries occur and various teams’ needs change.
Running back Kenjon Barner was a sixth round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2013.
When it didn’t work out there he found a home with the Eagles from 2014 to 2016. After the Birds released him, he landed with the Los Angeles Chargers the next year but was one of the final roster cuts.
Barmer spent the next three weeks training at home, hoping the phone would ring.
Then on September 26, Barner signed a one-year deal with the Eagles after an injury to running back Darren Sproles.
In Week five, Barner averaged 36 yards on three punt returns, including a 76-yarder, in a 34-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
This week, it’s Taylor Hart. The former defensive tackle turned offensive tackle drafted by the Eagles in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, also out of Oregon, got his locker back this week after being released on the final week of training camp.
This is Hart’s third stint with Philadelphia.
On September 4, 2016, he was released by the Eagles. One day later, the San Francisco 49ers claimed Hart off waivers. He was released on October 22, 2016. Two days later, the Eagles claimed Hart off waivers.
Throughout the season, Hart took snaps at offensive tackle with the scout team. On January 18, 2017, the Eagles announced they officially moved him from defensive end to offensive tackle.
Hart actually looked good at his new position but not enough to grab a roster spot.
He was waived on September 2, 2017. He was re-signed by the Eagles to a two-year contract after an injury to Jason Peters.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” Hart said this week. “but it’s great to be back.”
Hart said coaches told him to hand in there and stay in shape. The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder saidn he stayed in touch with several former teammates including Beau Allen and Jason Kelce.
Hart said he trained with former NFL great Jackie Slater now the offensive line coach for Azusa Pacific University. There was never a thought about playing defense.
“When I went home I only worked on offensive line stuff,” Hart said. “That is what I was gonna go for and I want to be the best I can.”
Hart was asked id it was the right decision to stay on offensive side of the ball.
“I think so.” Hart said. “I’m fully invested in it. It’s tough being home for a while but I’m going to stick with it and try and prove myself here.”
Hart had no practice squad eligibility, so did he have faith it would work out?
“We understood that when I got released it would be tough,” Hart said. “Because I don’t have the practice squad eligibility and not many games under my belt (on offense) except for the preseason games. I knew it would be tough. But I told myself that I’d just keep working and if something happened, it did. Luckily they called me back here.”
Life on the fringe indeed.
Follow Al Thompson in Twitter @thompsoniii