AROUND THE NFL | News and notes
Bengals: Defensive end Duane Clemons, who started 14 games last year for the Bengals, was suspended Saturday for four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. The Bengals also cut 12 players, including defensive tackle Langston Moore, who started eight games last season, to get to the regular-season roster limit of 53 players. Clemons, who had 6.5 sacks for the Bengals in 2004, had lost his starting job to Justin Smith in the preseason but was still expected to contribute. Drafted by Minnesota in the first round in 1996, Clemons played with the Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs before signing with Cincinnati in 2003. In his 10-year career, Clemons has 47.5 sacks. Casey Bramlet, a second-year quarterback, was released as the Bengals decided to keep Craig Krenzel as their third quarterback. The Bengals claimed Krenzel off waivers from the Chicago Bears on June 20 to compete for the third-string job, backing up Carson Palmer and Jon Kitna. Krenzel was a two-year starter at Ohio State, leading the Buckeyes to a national title. He went 15-of-34 for 186 yards and a touchdown in the preseason for a below-average passer rating of 59.2. Bramlet did much better, going 11-of-17 for 103 yards with a pair of touchdowns and a rating of 120.5, well above average. The Bengals drafted Bramlet in the seventh round last year, but he didn't play as a rookie. The Bengals also cut kicker Carter Warley, who was brought to training camp because Shayne Graham had a sore groin. Graham kicked extra points Friday night in a 38-0 preseason victory over Indianapolis and looked fine. Also cut were running back Quincy Wilson, wide receivers Cliff Russell and Jamall Broussard, cornerbacks Patrick Body and Brandon Williams, linebacker Derek Curry, safety Herana-Daze Jones, fullback Ronnie Ghent and offensive tackle Pete Lougheed. Linebacker Caleb Miller was placed on the physically unable to perform list.
Cowboys: Receiver Peerless Price decided to join the Dallas Cowboys, primarily because of the chance to be reunited with quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Price signed a one-year deal, giving him a chance to become a free agent again next season when he'll have more time to look around. He landed on the market this week after being cut by Atlanta and teams wanted him to make his choice by the 5 p.m. Saturday roster deadline. After visiting with Miami, New England, Dallas and the Saints, Price picked the Cowboys because he liked the idea of again catching passes from Bledsoe while being in a receiving corps that also features Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten and Patrick Crayton, a promising second-year player coming off a strong preseason. Price had his best season in 2002, his only year with Bledsoe in Buffalo. Price then parlayed his 1,252-yard, 94-catch season into a $37 million, seven-year contract with Atlanta, but never lived up to expectations.
Lions: Detroit needs more time to know how long Jeff Garcia's broken leg and injured ankle will keep him out. The backup quarterback was hurt in their preseason finale. "He had an MRI, but it was not definitive," team president Matt Millen said. "We need more information, so we're going to have him take more tests. It's probably going to be a couple more days before we know for sure what's going on." The Lions expected Garcia to miss at least six weeks after he started and was injured in a 21-7 exhibition victory Friday at Buffalo. Coach Steve Mariucci said X-rays revealed Garcia broke his fibula, but he also feared the veteran might have severely hurt his ankle. Detroit signed Garcia to compete with Joey Harrington, who didn't play Friday because of a minor groin injury. "A lot of people wanted to make it out as a butting heads of a battle, and it's been nothing of the sort," Harrington said. "He's been incredible and more helpful than I would have thought. I feel terrible for him." Without Garcia, Detroit has two untested quarterbacks behind Harrington: rookie fifth-round pick Dan Orlovsky and rookie undrafted free agent Todd Mortensen. Garcia was hurt on the final play of the first quarter. It happened at the end of a 23-yard run when his left foot caught on the turf as he was hit across the neck by cornerback Terrence McGee. Garcia, who scampered into a wide-open hole, was just beginning to slide when he was hit.
Patriots: Wide receiver David Terrell was released by the New England Patriots, one of 17 players cut as the Super Bowl champions got down to the regular-season roster limit of 53 players. Terrell, who played with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Michigan, was signed in the offseason as a free agent after playing for the Chicago Bears. The Patriots also cut wide receiver P.K. Sam, a fifth-round draft pick last year out of Florida State, and veteran tight end Jed Weaver. The others released were linebackers Eric Alexander, Grant Steen and Andre Torrey, defensive linemen Rodney Bailey and Tom Sverchek, running back Kory Chapman, wide receiver Bam Childress, fullback Kyle Eckel, tight end Joel Jacobs, tackles Victor Leyva and Jeff Roehl, offensive lineman Gene Mruczkowski, safety Raymond Ventrone and guard Billy Yates. The release of Terrell, Sam and Childress from one of the Patriots' most competitive positions leaves them with wide receivers Deion Branch, Troy Brown, David Givens, Andre Davis, Bethel Johnson and Tim Dwight. Terrell, the eighth pick in the 2001 draft, signed a one-year contract in April after being released by the Bears. He started 15 of 16 games last year, leading Chicago with a career-high 699 receiving yards. His 42 receptions were second on the team. In four seasons, he has 128 receptions for 1,602 yards and nine touchdowns. Weaver also lost out at a competitive position where Daniel Graham, Benjamin Watson, and Christian Fauria got the tight end spots.
Eagles: Philadelphia bolstered its depleted receiving corps, signing wideout Darnerien McCants to a one-year contract. The NFC champions also released popular defensive end Hugh Douglas, former starting fullback Jon Ritchie and veteran punter Sean Landeta to reach the roster limit of 53 players. "Releasing players that have worked their tails off for the team is one of the toughest days for me," coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "It's even tougher when you release veterans such as Hugh and Jon. They have contributed a great deal to the success of this team over the past few years and we appreciate their efforts on and off the field." McCants was cut by the Redskins last week after four seasons in Washington. He has 53 catches for 687 yards and eight touchdowns in 29 games. The Eagles lost starting receiver Todd Pinkston to a season-ending injury the first week of training camp, and reserve Justin Jenkins also will miss the season. Douglas went to three Pro Bowls with the Eagles before leaving for Jacksonville following the 2002 season. He spent just one season with the Jaguars and returned to the Eagles last year after he was cut in training camp. The 34-year-old Douglas has 80 sacks in 10 seasons with the Jets, Eagles and Jaguars. He's well-liked by teammates and was one of the leaders on defense throughout his career in Philadelphia. Ritchie, a seven-year veteran, missed most of last season with a knee injury. He caught 17 passes in his first season with the Eagles in 2003 after five years in Oakland. Josh Parry, a converted linebacker who took Ritchie's spot last year, is the only fullback on Philadelphia's roster. Landeta, the leading punter in NFL history, signed with the team earlier this month as insurance in case Dirk Johnson couldn't recover from surgery for a sports hernia.
Chiefs: Kansas City offensive lineman John Welbourn has been suspended for four games for violation of the league's steroid policy. "We are moving forward," said coach Dick Vermeil. "I really can't say any more than that right now." Welbourn, a reserve guard acquired from Philadelphia in 2004, played in Friday night's exhibition loss to St. Louis. He will not be eligible to practice during the suspension and may not play until the Oct. 16 game against Washington. Vermeil said Friday night that Welbourn lost an appeal of his suspension. "It doesn't matter if it was taken accidentally or something was in something he took that wasn't marked on the bottle," the coach told the Kansas City Star. "It doesn't matter. There's no tolerance and we'll have to live with that." Eric Warfield, a starting cornerback, already has been suspended for the first four games for violation of the league's substance abuse policy.
Giants: Linebacker Kevin Lewis and quarterback Jesse Palmer were among 18 players released by New York. The Giants also signed veteran running back and return man Chad Morton, who was signed by the New England Patriots in June and placed on the physically unable to perform list in late July before being released last Tuesday. Lewis, in his sixth year, started all 16 games at middle linebacker last season for the Giants and finished second on the team with 86 tackles. He was replaced in the middle during training camp by Antonio Pierce, an offseason acquisition from Washington. Palmer had been with the Giants since 2001 and started three games in 2003 when Kerry Collins was injured. He had been in a battle with first-year pro Jared Lorenzen for the third-string spot during training camp and appeared to have the upper hand after throwing a 46-yard pass to set up a touchdown against New England last Thursday. Lorenzen was signed as a rookie free agent in May 2004, but struggled with his weight and sat out last season for personal reasons.