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Eagles send Mitchell on go route

Mouthy receiver never caught on

Freddie Mitchell has talked his way out of Philadelphia.

In a move that was no surprise, the Eagles released Mitchell yesterday, cutting ties with the wide receiver after four seasons where he never lived up to his promise as a first-round pick.

''We appreciate everything Freddie has contributed to the Eagles organization over the last four years," coach Andy Reid said.

Mitchell, picked in the first round out of UCLA in 2001, made more news off the field than on it, labeling himself with a seemingly endless list of self-promoting nicknames like ''The People's Champ," ''FredEx," and ''First-Down Freddie."

Before the Super Bowl, Mitchell offended some Patriots when he disparaged their secondary in a television interview.

Mitchell said he just knew the numbers -- not the names -- of New England's cornerbacks. He singled out Rodney Harrison, saying he ''has something" for the veteran strong safety. Mitchell also called out New England coach Bill Belichick.

Unhappy over his role as the slot receiver and overshadowed by Terrell Owens, Mitchell criticized his teammates for not backing him up when he trash talked the Patriots and blasted Donovan McNabb for lacking confidence in him as a go-to receiver.

Mitchell was told not to come to Philadelphia's first mandatory minicamp last week.

''I told him I did not want him here," Reid said.

Mitchell played in 63 career games and had 90 catches for 1,263 yards and five touchdowns.

Horn gets extension

Receiver Joe Horn signed a six-year contract extension with the New Orleans Saints. The deal, worth about $42 million, includes a $7 million signing bonus. ''I'm looking for a bigger house," said Horn, who had one year left on a three-year, $13 million deal. Horn, a nine-year veteran, has made the Pro Bowl in four of his five seasons with the Saints. He led the Saints in receiving last season with 94 catches for 1,399 yards and 11 touchdowns. Horn is best known for causing controversy in a game against the New York Giants in 2003, when he pulled a cellphone from the goal post padding and pretended to talk on it after a touchdown. He was fined $30,000 by the NFL . . . Former Giants receiver Ike Hilliard signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hilliard has 368 career receptions for 4,630 yards and 27 touchdowns . . . The Giants signed 15 rookie free agents, including Syracuse safety Diamond Ferri, a former All-Scholastic running back from Everett. Ferri made history last year when he became the first Big East player to be named top offensive and defensive player in the same week after his performance in the Orange's 43-18 pounding of Boston College. Ferri made six tackles, returned an interception for a touchdown, and also rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns . . . Former Cleveland Browns offensive guard Paul Zukauskas was acquitted of drunken driving in Medina, Ohio. Zukauskas, who is a free agent, was stopped by the State Highway Patrol in November for making a sudden right turn from the wrong lane. Troopers said the 25-year-old Zukauskas, a former BC standout, failed three field sobriety tests. He refused to take a breath test. A Medina County jury decided Zukauskas wasn't driving drunk. Medina Municipal Court Judge Dale Chase fined Zukauskas $150 for the improper turn . . . Rams defensive end Leonard Little was sentenced to two years' probation for speeding last year in Clayton, Mo. . . . Ben Roethlisberger was lectured by Steelers coach Bill Cowher on the dangers of riding a motorcycle without a helmet -- as Roethlisberger has been spotted doing recently -- but the quarterback isn't ready to get off his $20,000 cycle. ''He talked about being a risk taker and I'm not really a risk taker. I'm pretty conservative and laid-back, but the big thing is to just be careful," Roethlisberger said. Cowher's speech comes a week after Browns tight end Kellen Winslow suffered shoulder and knee injuries riding his motorcycle in Ohio

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