Ponder, Deloatch among 21 cut by Giants; OL Lentz on IR

Updated: September 2, 2006, 10:27 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Receiver Willie Ponder, cornerback Curtis Deloatch and 19 players were waived by the New York Giants on Saturday to reach the NFL's 53-man roster limit.

Free-agent offensive lineman Matt Lentz was placed on injured reserve with an elbow injury.

Ponder, one of four players in franchise history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns, and Deloatch, who started 13 games last season, were among six veterans and two draft picks cut.

Defensive tackle Damane Duckett, defensive ends Eric Moore and Adrian Awasom and safety Quentin Harris, a fifth-year veteran who signed as a free agent in the offseason, also were released. Duckett, Moore and Awasom saw limited action last season.

Safety Charlie Peprah, a fifth-round selection, and cornerback Gerrick McPhearson, a seventh-round pick, also were waived.

Also waived were tight ends Wade Fletcher and Darcy Johnson, receiver Anthony Mix, fullback Tony Jackson, running backs James Sims and Mike Jemison, offensive linemen Kevin McAlmont, Troy Reddick and Todd Londot, defensive linemen Willie Evans and Marcus Green, and linebackers Tyson Smith and Nick McNeil.

The moves don't mean the Giants' roster is set. The team has carried three tight ends in recent seasons, and the release of Fletcher and Johnson leaves only Jeremy Shockey and Visanthe Shiancoe. Shiancoe has been bothered by a knee problem.

"I think were always looking for that third tight end," coach Tom Coughlin said.

Receiver-punt returner Michael Jennings, a practice squad player the previous two seasons, is still on the roster. The former track star, who did not play football at Florida State, returned a punt for a touchdown in the preseason opener against Baltimore, but has been inconsistent catching passes.

Keeping Jennings instead of Ponder was surprising.

A sixth-round draft choice in 2003, Ponder led the NFL in 2004 with a 26.9-yard kickoff return average, the highest by a Giant in 30 years. He had eight catches in three years.

"It was a tough call, without a doubt," Coughlin said of keeping Jennings. "But when you look at what has been done, you have to be fair about analyzing it. Both players can play in the league."

Five draft picks are still on the roster, led by top pick Mathias Kiwanuka, a defensive end from Boston College. The others are receiver Sinorice Moss, linebacker Gerris Wilkinson, nose tackle Barry Cofield and offensive tackle Guy Whimper. Cofield started the last two preseason games, but Moss has been sidelined for a month with a quadriceps injury.

Free agent cornerback Kevin Dockery and free agent offensive lineman NaShan Goddard also made the team, as did defensive tackle Jonas Seawright, who spent last season on the practice squad.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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