Ryan Mathews' two-year run with the Eagles came to an unceremonious end last week when he was finally released after months in limbo.
Mathews still had a roster spot and a locker for the last few months but most fans probably forgot he was on the team. He was even given special permission to rehab from his neck injury and subsequent surgery away from the team facility.
Cutting him last Tuesday was merely a formality. The Eagles were simply waiting for him to heal completely and be cleared by doctors.
It wasn't much of a surprise that Mathews ended his 2016 season on the injured reserve. In fact, that's kind of been a staple of his career. In seven NFL seasons, Mathews has played all 16 games just once. He missed a total of six games in two seasons with the Eagles.
It's possible that Mathews, who turns 30 in October, has already played his final NFL game. If that's the case, it will be a shame. Because when he's on the field, he's a dynamic and tough runner. But it seems like he's never on the field.
And a lot of that has to do with his hard-nosed running style. Mathews is a punishing runner. It's just that often he's the one who comes out on the wrong side of it.
While that physical style of running has been Mathews' hallmark, it's also likely been the biggest obstacle in his career.
Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley emphatically said Saturday he never thought about asking Mathews to tone it down.
"I would never do that," Staley said. "I think once you start talking about telling a guy to change his running style, I think you're kind of pointing him in the wrong direction. You have to understand this is something that's been done by that individual for a very long time. So to come along and be here for a year or two and all of a sudden try to change the way he runs, nah, not a good idea."
In 26 games with the Eagles, Mathews' yard per attempt average was 4.60. That's the third-highest mark in Eagles history among running backs with at least 250 attempts. LeSean McCoy's average with the Eagles was 4.65 and Ernie Steele's average in the 40s was 5.18.
Because of his injuries, Mathews won't be remembered extremely fondly in Philly and that's a shame too. He was fun to watch — despite the fumble in Detroit — and played the position the way most fans really appreciate.
"He's one of those guys that's going to pin his ears back, he's going to go and he's going to try to run you over," Staley said. "He plays with that physical style that old-school style of running back. That's what he plays with. I like it actually.
"But you have to understand how fast and physical this game is. Things do happen. It's very unfortunate that injury came about. I thought he was having a good year. Once again, this is a violent game we play and things like that happen. You have to adjust and move on."