NFL Cuts Bring Some Surprises

Several high profile players including former Jags quarterback Byron Leftwich got a visit from the “Turk” on September 1st.

(Philadelphia, Pa) —This time of the year is tough on any GM or Head Coach, because sometimes they have to part ways with a veteran, draft pick, or young developmental player because final cuts were due September 1st as teams got to the 53 player regular season limit.

The “Turk” called many name players into his office to collect their playbooks and put them on the street. The cuts may not be the end of the line for some as in-season injuries will happen and developmental players have a shot at joining team’s practice squad (8 players can be named as of September 2nd).

Jags move one without former franchise quarterback Byron Leftwich – After the Jaguars announced that David Garrard would be the starter for the season late Friday afternoon, as expected incumbent quarterback Byron Leftwich was cut when the team’s roster was trimmed to 53 players. Leftwich just could not stay healthy and he had constantly been at odds with embattled Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio. Throughout training camp and in the preseason Leftwich didn’t seem as sharp as Garrard (76.6 completion percentage, 456 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a 113.4 passer rating) and the team didn’t want a controversy as in ’06. In that season, Garrard replaced Leftwich at quarterback in the seventh game and had the Jaguars on the brink of clinching a playoff berth before the team lost its final three games of the season.

Leftwich had been the seventh overall pick in the 2003 draft, but his Jags’ career was injury plagued with ankle and leg injuries. Leftwich finished his Jaguars career with a 24-20 record as a starter, completing 789 of 1,344 passes for 9,042 yards, 51 touchdowns and 36 interceptions for a passer rating of 80.5. He will now look to catch on with a team that needs a veteran backup and hope for an opportunity to be a starter next year when he is a free agent. Look for the Falcons, Patriots, Ravens, and Vikings as possible landing spots.

Road Ends on Inspirational Comeback – In one of the best stories of the NFL pre-season former third overall selection in the 1998 draft Andre Wadsworth was trying to resurrect his career in the NFL after a dozen knee surgeries. Wadsworth ’s original team the Cardinals gave up on him, but after missing six NFL seasons, the Jets gave him the chance to comeback at age 32 and at the new position of linebacker. Wadsworth gave a workmanlike effort in camp, but there were too many younger linebackers for Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini to keep him.

Wadsworth said after his release, “To me the battle is already won. To come back from the type of injuries that I have had and the surgeries that I have had and to make it through camp and not miss one practice, that is huge to me”. Wadsworth may get a chance with another team, but he still has his car dealerships in Florida to fall back on.

Eagles WR/KR Jeremy Bloom – Bloom who was returning to football after being on injured reserve in ’06 and being known as an Olympic skier, couldn’t cut it. He only averaged around 8 yards per punt return and didn’t display the explosiveness the NFL is seeking in returners.

Other Bigger name cuts were:

Safety Donvin Darius (Raiders) – After an ankle injury sidelined him for most of 2006 for the Jaguars, Darius didn’t live up to his big free agent price tag.

FB Zack Crocket (Raiders) – Veteran goal line back’s time with the Raiders is done. With a new coach they went with young players.

LB Chad Brown (Patriots) – At 37-year old, he could not be counted on special teams and there were younger linebackers.

QB Vinny Testaverde (Patriots) – The Pats told the 43rd quarterback to stay by the phone, but they went with two quarterbacks.

QB Chris Leak (Bears) – Former National Championship quarterback couldn’t beat out Kyle Orton.

K Lawrence Tynes (Giants) – Got beat out by a younger kicker after being traded by the Chiefs in the off-season.

CB Ramzee Robinson ( Detroit ) – The 2007 NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant” as the last pick out of Alabama .

RB J.D. Washington (Rams) – The former Morehouse College standout and son of actor Denzel Washington got catch in the numbers game.

Lloyd’s Leftovers

  • No Heisman Jinx – Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith avoided one of the bigger jinxes in sports, by making the Baltimore Ravens’ final roster. Smith who had 30 touchdowns as a senior at Ohio State will be the Ravens’ third-string quarterback. He is still learning to find his passing lanes and reading NFL defenses, but he is no Jason White (Former Oklahoma QB and Heisman Winner that never made an NFL roster).
  • Trades?? – Usually the NFL only has trades around the draft, but cutdown day had a few noteworthy moves.
      • The Cincinnati Bengals acquired third-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick from the St. Louis Rams on Saturday in exchange for a seventh-round choice in the 2008 draft. A former Harvard star, Fitzpatrick was chosen by the Rams with a seventh-round pick in the 2005 draft. As a rookie, he started three games because of injuries, and became one of just a handful of players in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in his first regular-season star
      • The Steelers traded a 2008 conditional draft pick to the Atlanta Falcons for return specialist/cornerback Allen Rossum. Rossum, a 2005 Pro Bowl selection as a kick returner, holds the Falcons record for career punt return yards (1,723), career kickoff return yards (5,489) and career punt returns for touchdowns (2).  
      • The Giants traded former Notre Dame running back Ryan Grant to Green Bay for an undisclosed draft choice.

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