Fall of Troy: Titans cut Edwards hours before game

PITTSBURGH -- Wide receiver Troy Edwards, expected to return
punts Sunday for the Tennessee Titans in the season opener against
Pittsburgh, was released hours before game time and wide receiver
Andrae Thurman was promoted from the practice squad.
Adam "Pacman" Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in the April draft
from West Virginia, was deactivated for the game after missing most
of training camp negotiating his contract. He also muffed four
punts in two exhibition games, causing the Titans to replace him
with Thurman as the punt returner Sunday.
Thurman was released by the Packers on Monday and immediately
signed with Tennessee. He returned three kickoffs last year but has
not returned a punt in an NFL game, though he did return punts in
practice last week.
Edwards' agent, Rich De Luca, told The Tennessean that Edwards was
in meetings Saturday when he learned he had been released. De Luca
said he has never had a client cut with so little time before a
The Titans, who shed a number of top players in salary cap
related moves last spring, also may have had financial reasons for
the move. Edwards, as a veteran player with more than four years'
experience, would have been guaranteed his entire 2005 salary if he
had been active Sunday.
Edwards was Pittsburgh's first-round draft pick in 1999 and
started four of the Jacksonville Jaguars' 16 games last season,
making 50 catches for 533 yards and one touchdown. He was released
by Jacksonville on Aug. 30 and signed with the Titans, who used him
to return punts in their final preseason game.
As expected, Steelers running back Duce Staley also was
deactivated after missing all but one day of training camp for knee
surgery. Staley and Jerome Bettis (calf), who combined for more
than 1,700 yards last season in the NFL's No. 2 rushing offense,
both sat out the game as former University of North Carolina backup
Willie Parker made his first career start.
Steelers starting cornerback Willie Williams also was on the
inactive list from a groin injury in practice last week and was
replaced by Ike Taylor, a fourth-round pick in 2003.
The Steelers also released No. 3 quarterback Charlie Batch in
what likely was a one-game move and signed linebacker Andre Frazier
from the practice squad -- the second straight season they went into
the opener with two quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger is backed up
by former starter Tommy Maddox, and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El
played quarterback at Indiana.