Neil O’Donnell, Frank Winters and Robert Edwards were among the NFL veterans cut Sunday, as teams trimmed rosters to the season-limit of 53.
The release of O’Donnell by Tennessee was a surprise because it left the Titans without a veteran backup to quarterback Steve McNair. But the Titans needed the salary cap space because of shortages they must fill at other positions.
“We’re scratching and clawing for every dime,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “When you’ve got two players that are similar in ability, you typically have to go with the younger player.”
That younger player is untested Billy Volek, who had a strong preseason.
Oddly, the Titans released O’Donnell in February to get under the salary cap. After the 13-year veteran visited Minnesota, New Orleans and Miami, Tennessee re-signed O’Donnell in late June.
Winters, who was entering his 17th NFL season, joined the Green Bay Packers as a free agent in 1992 and ranked fifth among active NFL players in games played, 231. He played in all 16 games at center in 2002 after injury forced out Mike Flanagan.
Edwards made a remarkable comeback from a severe knee injury to play for Miami last season. He was second in Comeback Player of the Year voting behind Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox.
“We gave him a shot and he did his part and helped us win games,” Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said.
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.
The Dolphins also put wide receiver Oronde Gadsden on injured reserve and released seven-year veteran receiver Dedric Ward.
Buffalo released defensive end Marcus Jones, a six-year veteran attempting to make a comeback after missing last season with a knee injury.
Detroit released guard Tony Semple, a fifth-round draft pick in 1994 who had the most seniority on the Lions’ offense.
He also released former first-round pick Reinard Wilson and linebacker Steve Foley, who started 44 games from 1999-2001, but missed last season with a dislocated shoulder.
Wilson was the 14th overall pick in 1997, but had only one strong season with Cincinnati.