The Titans released O'Donnell in February to get under the salary cap, and coach Jeff Fisher stayed in close contact with the 13-year veteran over the next few months as the quarterback visited with Minnesota, New Orleans and Miami. Tennessee finally re-signed O'Donnell in late June. But three-year veteran Billy Volek beat O'Donnell out as the No. 2 quarterback, leaving the veteran too expensive for a team needing money to add depth at other positions.
The Raiders trimmed 15 players from their roster, but Robbins
wasn't among them. Oakland's starting center since 1997 thought
earlier in the week he would be cut.
"I had some conversations (Saturday) that pretty much led me to
believe that I would be here," Robbins said. "It's been a tough
couple of weeks, but we rode it out and had faith that whatever
happened would be the right thing for us, my family and I."
The Raiders suspended Robbins hours before the Super Bowl after he left the team for a well-publicized drinking binge. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and underwent treatment for alcoholism during the offseason. He also had surgery on his right knee.
Indianapolis cut Brett Conway, who battled Vanderjagt for the kicking job this summer.
"Our overall feeling is that Mike is an outstanding kicker," coach Tony Dungy said. "He's kicked well in practice, he's kicked well in the past and we didn't see any decline in his ability."
The Colts brought in Conway to see if he had a stronger leg on kickoffs.
Fuamatu-Ma'afala, a physical but oft-injured 254-pound power
runner, became expendable after the Steelers made the transition
from a run-oriented offense to a passing team last season. He went
into camp as the No. 3 running back behind Amos Zereoue, now the
starter, and Bettis, only to see second-year runner Verron Haynes
pass him on the depth chart.
After rushing for 453 yards in 2001, when Bettis was injured for
much of the second half of the season, Fuamatu-Ma'afala was limited
to 115 yards on 23 carries in only eight games last season.
The Dolphins also put wide receiver Oronde Gadsden on injured reserve as the team pared its roster to the 53-man limit.
Edwards' career was in serious jeopardy after he shredded his left knee in a beach football game at the 1999 Pro Bowl. A former first-round draft choice by New England, Edwards rushed 20 times for 107 yards and had 18 receptions and scored two touchdowns in 2002.
Gadsden was the Dolphins' top receiver in 2000 and 2001, but
played in only six games last season because of a torn ligament in
his left wrist. He also missed much of training camp with a serious
Dallas Cowboys: The value Bill Parcells places on special teams was evident when the Cowboys' roster was released.
Zuriel Smith and Reggie Swinton, backup receivers who thrilled the new coach by returning kicks for touchdowns in preseason games,
made the final cut. So did safety Woody Dantzler and tight end James Whalen, two players who will hardly play their listed positions but fill many roles in the kicking game.
Dantzler, a college quarterback who learned to play running back
last season, can return, hold, cover and be the up back on punts.
Whalen, more of a receiver than blocker, can hold, deep snap and be
part of all coverage units.
Among the 12 players not as fortunate were tight end Tony McGee,
brought in last season because of his familiarity with
then-offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet; running back Adrian
Murrell, who's been out of the NFL the past two seasons; and
receiver Ken-Yon Rambo, who lost out to Smith, Swinton and Randal
Williams, another receiver who excels on special teams.
Jackson, a fourth-year pro, played in only four games in his
previous three seasons. During those games, none of them starts,
Jackson was 7-for-13 passing for 73 yards.
Jackson quarterbacked the Barcelona Dragons into the 2001 NFL
Europe League World Bowl.
Tucker tore his right ankle tendon against New England in the team's final preseason game. Last year, Tucker dislocated his left ankle and broke his leg, missing the last 11 games.
Tucker is scheduled for surgery this week. He will be replaced by backup tackle Steve Edwards.
Coach Dom Capers planned on keeping four tight ends, but decided this weekend it was best for Joppru, who underwent surgery Wednesday to correct a pelvic hernia, to sit out the entire season after the second-round draft choice missed most of training camp.
"The recovery from this type of surgery is anywhere from six to 12 weeks, and many times it's more toward the 12 weeks than it is the six," Capers said. "We felt this was in our best interest to make this move."
Billy Miller, the team's leading receiver last year, and blocking specialist Jabari Holloway will split time at tight depending on the formation and situation. Rashod Kent, who played in NFL Europe this spring and has made strides in developing from a basketball player at Rutgers, is the backup.
Safety Wes Bautovich, linebacker Mark Brown, cornerback Andrew
Davison (injury settlement), running backs Little John Flowers and
Johnathan Reese, guard Brandon Moore, wide receiver Cecil Moore, tight end Gabe Reid and defensive end Ryan Wingrove also were cut.
Of those cut, Moses was with the team the longest. He originally signed as a rookie free agent in 2000, then was cut at the end of training camp. He rejoined the team the following year and has
played in 32 regular-season games with five tackles on defense and 40 on special teams.
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals, in need of help in the secondary, signed cornerback Emmanuel McDaniel during the cutdown to the 53-man roster limit.
The Cardinals released 11 players and placed three on reserve lists during the flurry of activity after signing McDaniel. They came up short at cornerback because of Duane Starks' season-ending
knee injury and a torn pectoral muscle for safety Michael Stone,
who could have played on the corner.
The Washington Redskins cut McDaniel and defensive back Alex Molden last week, and both worked out for the Cardinals on Friday.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound McDaniel played at East Carolina. He
signed with Indianapolis in 1997, spent the next year on Miami's
practice squad and was with the New York Giants from 1999-2001.
Edwards, a 1999 first-round pick of the Steelers, caught 18 passes for 157 yards for St. Louis last season. This summer, he fell behind rookies Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald, the team's third- and fourth-round picks, plus undrafted free agent Mike Furrey.
Even Curtis' broken leg, which could sideline him for the first month of the season, couldn't save Edwards' job as coach Mike Martz decided to go with youth.
"They're a very talented group and you're going to have to bite the bullet for a little while with them," Martz said. "But I think the best thing we can do is play them."
The Rams signed cornerback Fred Weary, released earlier this summer by the 49ers, and acquired safety Rich Coady from
Indianapolis to fill the gap on an injury-plagued position.
Coady will be the backup strong safety.
Safety Kim Herring, a starter the last two seasons who has a
broken forearm, was waived injured. Offensive guard Travis Scott, a
fourth-round pick last year who spent 2002 on injured reserve with
a shoulder injury, was released.
Doman, a fifth-round draft pick last season, lost his battle for
the 49ers' third quarterback job to rookie Ken Dorsey, who led the
University of Miami to the last two national championship games.
The 49ers considered keeping four quarterbacks, but Dorsey's preseason play and strong training camp trumped Doman's experience
as the third quarterback last season. Doman had an outstanding
training camp while posting better statistics than Dorsey, a
seventh-round pick who has exceeded expectations.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints cut 17 players -- including veterans Ki-Jana Carter and David Sloan -- and placed starting safety Mel Mitchel on injured reserve on Sunday to meet the NFL mandated 53-player roster limit.
Veteran Jay Bellamy, who started 16 games at free safety last season, will replace Mitchell at strong safety, coach Jim Haslett
Joseph was the most notable of the cuts. A third-year veteran, he ran for 294 yards in 2001 and returned 27 kickoffs last season. But he missed most of training camp due to injury and lost his job
to undrafted rookie Joe Smith.
Not on the cut list was defensive end Tony Brackens, whose future was in question after knee surgery last year.
Quarterback Jim Miller, still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, was placed on the reserve-physically unable to perform list.
Dudley, a key component in coach Jon Gruden's multiple tight end sets last season, suffered a high left ankle sprain in the final preseason game and would have been sidelined for six to 10 weeks.
The Bucs reached a four-week injury settlement with the eighth-year pro, who immediately becomes a free agent eligible to sign with any team. The Bucs, however, cannot re-sign him for 10 weeks.
Dudley joined Tampa Bay as a free agent last September and had 15 receptions for 186 yards and three touchdowns in 14 regular-season games. In three playoff games, he had two receptions for 19 yards and one TD.
Dudley's departure creates more playing time for backup Todd Yoder and, possibly, rookie Will Hester, one of 11 players added to the roster since the Bucs' 48-21 victory over Oakland in the Super Bowl.
Stephens was a fourth-round draft pick in 2002 and spent most of
his rookie year on injured reserve. He caught one pass for six
yards in the season opener and did not play again before being lost
for the season in November with a dislocated left big toe.
Pass rushed for 133 yards on 32 carries and had six kickoff returns for 189 yards during the Patriots' four preseason wins.
Pass, a seventh-round pick in 2000 out of Georgia, was a backup
fullback for the last two seasons before returning to halfback in
Ward, a seven-year veteran, signed as a free agent, caught seven passes for 146 yards in the preseason, and had five receptions for 100 yards in the Patriots' exhibition finale, a 38-23 victory over the Chicago Bears on Wednesday.
The team also released wide receiver Thabiti Davis; offensive linemen Russ Hochstein, Matt Knutson and Jamil Soriano; nose tackle Ethan Kelley; safety Shawn Mayer; cornerback Leonard Myers; and linebacker Maugaula Tuitele.
Also waived were veteran running back Lamar Smith; running back
Herbert ``Whisper'' Goodman; offensive linemen Bill Ferrario and
David Brandt; defensive tackle Steve Martin; linebacker Steve
Josue; and safety Scott McGarrahan.
Rookie wide receiver Carl Ford, a seventh-round draft choice from Toledo who was hurt in Thursday's preseason game against Tennessee, was placed on injured reserve. Josue was also a seventh-round selection in this year's draft, out of Carson-Newman.
Winters joined the Packers as a free agent in 1992 and ranked fifth among active NFL players in games played, 231. He played in all 16 games in 2002 after injury forced out Mike Flanagan.
Bromell signed an $11 million contract last year to help bolster
the Vikings' struggling defense, but his performance fell off and
he was injured for most of the preseason. He was beaten out for the
backup spot by Chuck Wiley.
Cleveland Browns: Coach Butch Davis continued a youth movement on his team, keeping 10 rookies on Cleveland's 53-man roster after cutting 14 players.
There were few surprises among the final cuts because Davis had dropped several high-salaried players, including his three starting linebackers, in an offseason purge.
Davis retained six of his seven 2003 draft picks, the lone exception being running back Lee Suggs, who was placed on the reserve non-football injury list. Suggs underwent shoulder surgery in May and will not be available for six weeks.
Four undrafted free agents made Cleveland's roster. Davis kept wide receiver C.J. Jones, fullback Kevin McLeod, linebacker Sherrod Coates and offensive lineman Enoch Demar.
Minnis averaged almost 16 yards on 33 receptions in 2001, then broke his foot the following May during minicamp.
Among the 24 players released Sunday were defensive tackle Derrick Ranson, who made 26 starts in the past five years, and 300-pound rookie fullback Joe Hall from Kansas State.
The Chiefs intentionally left a spot open on the 53-man roster in the hope of signing some other released player.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.