NFL notebook: Bailey, Sam among cuts

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 28:  Defensive end Michael Sam #96 of the St. Louis Rams stands between plays in the second quarter of play against  Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 28: Defensive end Michael Sam #96 of the St. Louis Rams stands between plays in the second quarter of play against Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Photo by Getty Images
| Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, 5:30 p.m.

For the first time in his career, Champ Bailey was told he isn't good enough.

Jettisoned by the Saints after a difficult training camp, the 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback was the most notable name when NFL teams trimmed their rosters to 53 active players Saturday.

A close second was Rams rookie Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

The seventh-round draft pick, watched as closely as any rookie in the league this summer, couldn't make a team stacked with pass-rushers. He still has a chance to get picked up by another team or to make the Rams' practice squad.

Over and over, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said, it was purely a football decision.

“I will tell you this: I was pulling for Mike,” Fisher said. “I really was, and I don't say that very often. Mike came in here and did everything we asked him to do.”

Fisher believes Sam has an NFL future, and it still could be with the Rams. If he's not picked up by another team, he could land on the St. Louis practice squad.

“I can't go there right now,” Fisher said. “Coaches don't talk about practice squads because we have to see what happens. We'll know better tomorrow afternoon.”

It might be the end of a stellar career for Bailey, who said after the Super Bowl that he wouldn't retire “because I still know I can play this game.”

Only seven players in NFL history have more Pro Bowl selections than Bailey, who signed with the Saints following his release from the Broncos in the spring.

Bailey missed 11 games last season after hurting his left foot in the preseason. He returned for Denver's stretch run and reached his first Super Bowl but clearly wasn't the same player.

In his prime, Bailey wasn't often challenged by quarterbacks, yet he still managed 52 interceptions, more than any active cornerback.

The Broncos released nine-year veteran defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson and third-year safety Duke Ihenacho, a starter last season who had nine tackles in the Super Bowl.

Other notable cuts include Browns wide receiver Nate Burleson, Lions running back Mikel Leshoure, Eagles kicker Alex Henery and Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill.

Browns' Lewis, Ravens' Shipley cut

The Browns released former Pitt running back Dion Lewis, and the Ravens cut guard A.Q. Shipley of Moon High School and Penn State.

Shipley started nine games at left guard last season. But he became expendable with the return of guard Kelechi Osemele, who missed most of last season with a back injury.

Browns undrafted free agent Isaiah Crowell rushed for 102 yards against the Bears, ripping off a 48-yard touchdown run, to beat out Lewis, who missed last season after breaking his leg.

Other roster cuts involving players with Western Pennsylvania ties include Giants tackle Adam Gress (West Mifflin/Penn State), Jets safety Rontez Miles (Woodland Hills/Cal. Pa.), 49ers safety Ray Ventrone (Chartiers Valley) and Texans tackle Mike Farrell (Shady Side Academy/Penn State).

Four former Penn State players — Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, Falcons tight end Mickey Shuler, Jaguars linebacker Nate Stupar and Redskins running back Evan Royster — were waived, as well as Chargers defensive tackle Chas Alecxih of Pitt and Colts safety Dewey McDonald of Cal (Pa.).

Among those bubble players who made their respective teams' 53-man rosters included Cowboys tackle John Wetzel (Brashear/Boston College) and Browns cornerback K'waun Williams (Pitt).

Bills agree to sign QB Orton

Quarterback Kyle Orton agreed to sign with the Bills in addressing the team's lengthy search for an established veteran to play behind second-year starter EJ Manuel.

Orton is a nine-year veteran who spent the past two seasons with Dallas. Orton was cut by the Cowboys in mid-July after he skipped the team's offseason workouts amid reports that he was considering retirement.

He has a 35-35 career record and gone 1,326 of 2,265 for 15,019 yards passing with 83 touchdowns and 59 interceptions.

Chiefs waive kicker Succop

Veteran kicker Ryan Succop's tenure with the Chiefs is over.

Succop was released as the Chiefs, beaten out for the job by undrafted free agent Cairo Santos in a decision that might have come down to how much each of them would have been paid.

Succop was due to make $2 million this season. Santos will instead make $422,000.

Succop, who hit 81 percent of his field goals over the past five seasons, might have been slightly more accurate. Santos clearly had the stronger leg. Combine that with all the financial ramifications of the decision, and Santos got the nod.

Pouncey taken off PUP list

Dolphins Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey was activated from the physically unable to perform list.

Pouncey will have a spot on the active roster spot despite being at least a few weeks from returning after hip surgery.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.


Show commenting policy