ASHBURN, Va. -- One was a good story, a naval lieutenant trying to crack an NFL roster. The other was a veteran looking for one more shot. For both, however, their dream, if not dead, is certainly deferred.
The Washington Redskins on Monday released veteran receiver Donte' Stallworth and fullback Eric Kettani, who had been promoted to lieutenant earlier this offseason. Teams must trim their roster to 75 by Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.
Stallworth was signed in June, but it was going to be tough for him to crack the Redskins' receiver rotation, especially if the team kept only five or six players at the position.
"I thought in his best interest, since I knew he wasn't going to be on the football team, was to tell him early," coach Mike Shanahan said Monday. "Give him a chance, possibly, to get with another football team."
Stallworth, a first-round pick by New Orleans in 2002, has 321 career catches for 4,837 yards and 35 touchdowns. He has played for seven teams, including with Washington in 2011. Stallworth played one game with the New England Patriots last December, catching one pass for a 63-yard touchdown, but was placed on injured reserve the next day with an ankle injury.
The Redskins likely have five locks at receiver with Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson. Dez Briscoe was on the roster last year and, after this move, would be the favorite if the team kept a sixth.
Stallworth caught two passes for 33 yards in Washington's preseason opener at Tennessee but dropped the only ball thrown his way against Buffalo on Saturday. He will turn 33 in November and, with only 25 receptions in the past three seasons combined, could be facing the end of his career. He also was involved in a bizarre hot air balloon accident in the offseason that left him burned and hospitalized. But Stallworth suffered no permanent damage.
For Kettani, the reality is that he was a long shot. The Redskins have a quality starting fullback in Darrel Young, and their tight ends can handle fullback duties if something happens to him, as they've done in the past. There was little room for a second fullback.
But Kettani, a 2009 United States Naval Academy graduate, was one of the best stories of the offseason because of his military promotion from lieutenant junior grade to lieutenant. The pin ceremony was held at Redskins Park, with Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner involved in the pinning. A number of teammates attended the ceremony as well.
Kettani, who averaged 5.4 yards per carry for Navy, gives speeches on the Navy's behalf. No longer on active duty, he had spent three years after graduation splitting time aboard the USS Klakring and NFL training camps. He spent five weeks on New England's practice squad in 2011 and much of last season on Washington's.
"Well, we knew that when we got him, what type of guy we had," Shanahan said after the pin ceremony. "When you graduate from the Naval Academy and have the success that he's had, he's a special type of player to come in. ... He's very smart. He's a heck of a football player. Not only does he have blocking skills, but he has running skills."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.