After stockpiling their rosters to evaluate talent during training camp, all 32 NFL teams have to reduce their rosters to 65 players by Tuesday’s 4:00 P.M. deadline.
Due to the amount of talent on the roster, Coach Gibbs had plenty of tough decisions to make. There would certainly be surprising moves made by the Redskins. 14 cuts were made this weekend but all weren’t officially announced until Tuesday.
Linebacker Kevin Mitchell, a 10-year NFL veteran and valued locker room presence, stood out most among the 14 players who were released by the Redskins. He started 13 games at middle linebacker in 2001 and had been a mainstay at special teams during his four seasons with the team. With the signing of Mike Barrow this offseason, the chances of Kevin making the roster were gradually decreasing. Mitchell had his chance to prove that he was able to fit into Assistant Head Coach – Defense Gregg Williams’ scheme during this preseason. After starting against the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, he was demoted to backup duty before Washington’s 3rd preseason game at Miami. He lacked the speed required for Williams’ style of defense and didn’t produce the way he is capable of. For the meantime, Mitchell plans on spending time with his wife, Denise, and one-year old son, Jonathan. Kevin and Denise are expecting their second child in January. According to Bengals.com, the Cincinnati Bengals have shown interest in his services.
Three other notable players who were released are cornerback Ralph Brown and wide receivers Cliff Russell and Scott Cloman.
Brown, who signed with the Redskins in March from the New York Giants, came to Washington as the projected 4th cornerback on the roster. The Redskins are pleased with the production of rookie cornerbacks Rufus Brown and Garnell Wilds so Brown was released, despite his solid preseason performance.
Russell was selected in the 3rd round of the 2002 Draft by the Redskins. His blazing speed was his trademark but he suffered a setback when he tore his ACL and was forced to sit out his rookie season. During the 2003 preseason, Cliff had several chances to prove himself when he was healthy. His speed remained but struggled at his pass-catching skills. He only played in 3 games during the 2003 regular season and has been hampered by a hamstring injury which caused him to miss most of the Redskins’ 2004 training camp.
Cloman was solid in his second straight training camp with the Redskins and became a dark horse to make the team. But with a roster filled with talented receivers, the odds of making the team were against him.
The other 10 players who were released are offensive lineman Dwayne Morgan, wide receivers Jonathan Brewer and John Standeford, defensive tackle Norman Heuer, defensive ends Nic Clemons and Greg White, linebackers Billy Strother and Devin Lemons, cornerback Michael Hall, and punter Kevin Stemke.
The league allows each team NFL Europe roster exemptions for players who participated in NFL Europe this season. Washington has 11 players who participated in NFL Europe this spring and none were released. With the 11 exemptions, the Redskins current roster stands at 76 players.
The Redskins chose to release the 14 players over the weekend instead of Tuesday so that it would be easier for the players to be able to sign with other teams. Billy Strother quickly took advantage of his early release and signed with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday.
— Junior Hog
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Jake Russell