Dolphins cut 20 players, including WR Freeman

Originally Published: September 5, 2004
Associated Press

DAVIE, Fla. -- Veteran receiver Antonio Freeman was among 20 players cut by the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

The Dolphins signed Freeman after the first preseason game, hoping he would help shore up an injury-wrecked receiving corps. But the former Green Bay standout had just one catch for 19 yards in the preseason.

Miami also traded backup tackle Brad Bedell to the Packers for an undisclosed 2006 draft pick.

Freeman's status became shaky when the Dolphins acquired Pro Bowl receiver Marty Booker from the Bears in a trade for defensive end Adewale Ogunleye.

The emergence of Bryan Gillmore also made the decision easier. Gillmore caught four passes for 56 yards in the preseason finale against New Orleans, including a 36-yard touchdown.

The Dolphins will go into the opener against Tennessee with Booker and Chris Chambers as starters, and Derrius Thompson, Bobby Sippio, Sam Simmons and Gillmore as reserves.

Another mild surprise among the roster cuts was rookie Fred Russell, who turned heads with his work on special teams as a return man but couldn't crack the rotation at running back.

Russell, a free agent from Iowa, broke off an 88-yard run from scrimmage in the first preseason game and averaged 28 yards on kickoff returns.

Several Dolphins decided not to make the trip to New Orleans on Friday because of Hurricane Frances, but coach Dave Wannstedt said Sunday the team remained unified.

"Our players deserve a lot of credit," Wannstedt said. "The concentration and focus of the players who were on the field was good and they were able to separate the business side of football and play the game."

Wannstedt said any decision on players who missed the trip without an excuse -- including Chambers, defensive end Chidi Ahanotu and tight end Donald Lee -- would be dealt with internally.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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