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Detmer traded, Zeier, Harbaugh, Lewis cut as quarterbacks are o
By DAVE GOLDBERG
AP Football Writer
The Cleveland Browns traded two backup quarterbacks and Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Carolina each cut another as NFL teams got down to the 53-player limit Sunday.
And the Buffalo Bills continued to sever ties with the past by cutting safety Henry Jones, one of the last veterans of the Super Bowl years.
The Browns sent Ty Detmer, who missed most of last season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon, to Detroit for two draft choices. He will back up brittle Charlie Batch with the Lions. They also sent second-year QB Spergon Wynn to Minnesota along with running back Travis Prentice for two draft picks.
To make room for him, the Lions cut another veteran quarterback, Jim Harbaugh.
The Falcons, meanwhile, released Eric Zeier, who lost a battle with second-year-man Doug Johnson for the third QB job behind Chris Chandler and Michael Vick, the No. 1 overall pick in last April's draft.
The Panthers cut Jeff Lewis, meaning Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke almost certainly will be the starting quarterback in their opener at Minnesota. Lewis, a five-year veteran who was drafted to succeed John Elway in Denver, entered training camp as the expected starter.
"I think everybody would understand it's a difficult decision because he was slated to be the starter this year," Panthers coach George Seifert said. "Things didn't work out, and at the same time we had a couple of other guys come to the front and we decided to go in that direction."
The 29-year-old Weinke played professional baseball before going to Florida State.
Detmer, with five seasons remaining on a contract that will play him $1.4 million this season, was acquired by the Browns in a trade with San Francisco in 1999. He started the expansion club's first game back in the league following a three-year hiatus.
The Steelers released Kent Graham, who a year ago beat out Kordell Stewart for the starting job. That means XFL MVP Tommy Maddox beat out Graham, the second time he's done that -- six years ago, Graham was cut by the New York Giants when they signed Maddox.
Jones, a first-round pick in 1991 by the Bills, had started 66 straight games.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Pinching pennies wherever they can, the Jacksonville Jaguars cut veteran safety Carnell Lake, a move that will save the team $500,000 this season and about $2.3 million in 2002.
Backup quarterback Jamie Martin also got cut, along with four draft choices. The Jaguars needed several rookies to make the team because of their tight salary cap.
The Jaguars signed Lake to a four-year, $18 million contract in 1999 and he had a Pro Bowl season as Jacksonville made the AFC title game. But he missed all of 2000 with a foot injury.
Lake had a hamstring injury that slowed his recovery in training camp. That, plus the rapid ascension of seventh-round draft pick Marlon McCree, made the 13th-year veteran expendable.
Coach Tom Coughlin said this move, like all the cuts he made, was "weighed on football first, then weighed on salary."
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Defensive tackle Russell Maryland, the No. 1 overall pick by Dallas in the 1991 draft, was released by Green Bay. The Packers also released veteran defensive lineman Harald Hasselbach, who had been cut last week by Denver.
Maryland, entering his 12th season in the NFL, was scheduled to make $1.4 million this year, and the Packers wanted him to accept something closer to the veterans minimum of $477,000. Maryland made it clear he wasn't going to accept a reduction in pay.
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -- Linebacker Ryan Phillips, who started 16 games last season for the NFC champion New York Giants, was released by the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders also released veteran backup quarterback Rodney Peete, punt returner Eric Metcalf and tight end Andrew Glover.
A starter for the Giants the past two seasons, Phillips played all three linebacking positions for the Raiders in the preseason, but could not break into the rotation.
Peete was Oakland's No. 3 quarterback last year, but the emergence of rookie Marques Tuiasosopo, the team's second-round draft pick, made the 35-year-old quarterback expendable.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- Veteran running back and special teams standout Moe Williams was among 16 players waived by the Minnesota Vikings.
Williams, plagued by a foot injury during training camp, was entering his sixth season. He had only 195 yards rushing in his career, but was a valuable presence on the Vikings' kick return and coverage teams.
The Vikings also released hobbled linebacker Craig Sauer, who has battled an inflamed arch for two seasons, and defensive tackle Fernando Smith.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee traded safety Perry Phenix to Carolina and defensive tackle Rod Walker to Green Bay for draft choices, and cut veteran fullback William Floyd.
The Titans signed Floyd in July, hoping his experience could offset his repaired knee. But he was unable to practice more than once a day during training camp.
His release left the Titans without a fullback for the first time since 1998. They appear set to use one of their four tight ends to help block for All-Pro running back Eddie George out of the backfield.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- In addition to releasing Eric Zeier, a seven-year veteran, the Falcons also placed linebacker Jeff Kelly on injured reserve.
Zeier lost a battle with second-year man Doug Johnson for the third quarterback spot behind starter Chris Chandler and Michael Vick, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Running back Darnell Autry, who filled in for the injured Duce Staley last season, was among eight players cut by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Also cut were veteran fullback Stanley Pritchett and seven-year defensive end Greg Jefferson, who missed all of last season with a knee injury.
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Tremain Mack, who has a history of alcohol-related problems, was cut by Cincinnati. He made the Pro Bowl in 1999 as a special teams player.
Also among those released were defensive end-linebacker Corey Moore, picked up after being cut by Buffalo. Moore was an All-American at Virginia Tech two years ago.
Also waived: Daniel Pope, who set a team record with 94 punts last year; Clif Groce, the starting fullback much of the past two seasons; and defensive end Kevin Henry, a starter in Pittsburgh last year, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Arizona Cardinals put placekicker Cary Blanchard on injured reserve with a torn tendon in his right big toe.
Seven-year veteran Brad Ottis, who started 11 games at defensive end last year, was released.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Giants cut running back Sean Bennett, their fourth-round pick a year ago, and both of their fifth-round choices this year, placekicker John Markham and wide receiver Jonathan Carter.
The Giants also released three veterans: third-year defensive tackle Ryan Hale, and second-year men linebacker Kevin Lewis and offensive tackle Chris Ziemann.
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -- The Lions cut two veterans, six-year defensive back Ray McElroy and fourth-year offensive tackle Robert Hicks. They also placed running back Sedrick Irvin on injured reserve.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Veteran quarterback Billy Joe Hobert, who lost to Mark Rypien in the contest for the backup job to Peyton Manning, was waived by the Colts. So was injury-prone E.G. Green, a starting wide receiver for parts of the last two seasons.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Safety Devin Bush, who started 12 games for the St. Louis Rams last season, was one of 13 players released.
Bush took a salary cut to stay with the team as a backup this season, but it wasn't enough. He was released to keep the team under the salary cap.
"It was very difficult for both of us," coach Mike Martz said. "I really like Devin a lot; I feel close to Devin."
MIAMI (AP) -- The Dolphins put wide receiver O.J. McDuffie and tight end Alonzo Mayes on the physically unable to perform list and cut safety Daryl Porter and 12 other players.
McDuffie, a nine-year veteran who is ninth on the team's all-time touchdown list, has an injured left big toe that kept him out for much of last year. Mayes underwent shoulder surgery in May. Acquired in October from Chicago, he has yet to play in a regular- season game for the team.
Porter, who signed with the team in March after three seasons with Buffalo, had led the team with 24 tackles during the preseason.
Quarterback Mike Quinn, who hurt his shoulder in Friday's preseason finale against Minnesota, was put on the waived/injured list. He would return to the Dolphins and be placed on injured reserve if he clears waivers.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Chiefs cut 20 players and put defensive tackle Dan Williams, injured for most of the past few seasons, on injured reserve.
Among those released were kick returner Tony Horne, signed by new coach Dick Vermeil from St. Louis in the off-season and wide receiver Derrick Mayes, picked up after being cut by Seattle.
FOXBORO, Mass (AP) -- Wide receiver Tony Simmons, a former second round draft choice, was among 16 players cut Sunday by the New England Patriots to get to the 53-player roster limit.
Simmons, a four-year veteran, had 14 catches for 231 yards and a touchdown last season, and has 56 catches for 981 yards and six touchdowns in his career.
HERNDON, Va. (AP) -- Todd Husak, who started Washington's first two exhibition games at quarterback, was cut by the Redskins on Sunday.
He was made expandable when Tony Banks was signed as the team's backup. Rooke Sage Rosenfels will be the third QB.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- The New York Jets released veterans Jason Wiltz and Scott Slutzer. Wiltz was projected as the starter at nose tackle when regular Jason Ferguson tore his rotator cuff. But Wiltz had a weak preseason and the fourth-round pick in the 1999 draft was released.
Slutzker's release was something of a surprise because the Jets are slim at tight end.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Tight end Johnny Mitchell, a first-round draft pick in 1992, was cut by the New Orleans Saints, ending his second comeback attempt in three years.
Mitchell, selected by the New York Jets with the 15th overall pick, had not played since 1996. He signed with the Jets in 1999, but retired at the start of training camp.