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Raiders jettison Garcia

Veteran QB not in Oakland’s plans

Associated Press / September 6, 2009

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Quarterback Jeff Garcia, who was signed by Oakland in the offseason to push JaMarcus Russell and serve as a mentor to the former No. 1 overall draft pick, was among 22 players let go by the Raiders yesterday as teams met the NFL deadline to reach the 53-man roster limit.

The decision to release Garcia means Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye will head into the regular season as Russell’s backups.

Garcia, who has 116 starts in 10 NFL seasons, signed a one-year contract with Oakland in April and acknowledged then the idea of being a backup was tough to handle, which may have factored into the team’s decision to release the 39-year-old quarterback.

“There was some talk about how he would fit but the best way for me to approach it is the other two played so well and we are committed to JaMarcus as our starter,’’ coach Tom Cable said.

Garcia missed two weeks of training camp with a sore left calf muscle and didn’t play in the Raiders’ first preseason game. He returned in mid-August and played sparingly in the preseason, compiling a passer rating of 67.1 that was the lowest among Oakland’s four quarterbacks. He was just 3 of 6 for 12 yards in a loss to Seattle Thursday night.

Not feeling so super
David Tyree, whose circus catch set up the Giants’ winning touchdown against the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, and David Patten, a member of three Super Bowl teams with New England, were among other notable roster casualties.

Tyree missed last season after failing to come all the way back from offseason knee surgery. The 29-year-old wide receiver battled minor groin, hamstring, and knee injuries in training camp this year and played in only two preseason games.

“It’s obviously a time of mixed feelings,’’ Tyree said after being informed of his release. “This is part of the journey. It’s not like it’s a great day. But at the same time I’m filled with expectations about what’s next on this track, and I’m excited, as well.’’

Patten, who caught a touchdown pass in the Patriots’ 20-17 upset of the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, had his contract terminated by the Browns.

Other former Patriots getting the ax included defensive tackle Dan Klecko and fullback Kyle Eckel by the Eagles, linebacker Bo Ruud by the Buccaneers, and defensive backs Deltha O’Neal (Texans) and Antwain Spann (Broncos).

Dolphins turn to Taylor
Six-time Pro Bowler Jason Taylor likely will be back at strong-side linebacker when the Dolphins open the season Sept. 13 at Atlanta after Miami placed last year’s starter, Matt Roth, on the reserve/non-football injury list.

When Taylor returned to the Dolphins from his one-year detour with the Redskins, there was a sense he could be used only in certain situations this season. Not anymore - and by Dolphins coach Tony Sparano’s account, that was never the case. “We talked about opportunity, having to come in and compete,’’ Sparano said. “I don’t think anywhere in there did Jason Taylor sign up to play 22 plays.’’

Milloy in demand?
Cornerback Marcus Trufant will miss the first six games for the Seahawks, prompting speculation Seattle is about to sign former Patriot Lawyer Milloy.

Milloy, who was released in February after starting the last three seasons for the Falcons, indicated on his Twitter page he would sign with Seattle. He worked out with the Lions last week.

Trufant, a Pro Bowl selection in 2007, begins the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. He has not practiced since before training camp because of a disk issue in his back.

Grossman gaining
Rex Grossman’s performance in Houston’s final preseason game not only earned him a spot on the roster, it gave him a chance to be the Texans’ backup quarterback.

Grossman, who missed most of the preseason with a hamstring injury, returned to throw two TD passes in Houston’s 27-20 win over Tampa Bay Friday. He was so impressive coach Gary Kubiak said the ex-Bear and Dan Orlovsky are now even in the competition to be Matt Schaub’s backup.

Rhodes released
A day after firing offensive coordinator Turk Schonert, the Bills released veteran running back Dominic Rhodes, the primary backup to Fred Jackson while starter Marshawn Lynch serves an NFL-imposed three-game suspension.

Rhodes’s departure leaves Buffalo with only two experienced running backs - Jackson and second-year player Xavier Omon - as the team prepares to open against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium Sept. 14.

Rhodes, a member of the Colts’ championship team in 2007, was entering his ninth NFL season after signing a two-year contract with Buffalo in April. He was due to make a base salary of $750,000 this season and $1.25 million next year.

Titans cut Fowler
A year after beginning the season as the Titans’ starting middle linebacker, Ryan Fowler was among 21 players shed by Tennessee.

Fowler, who signed a four-year deal worth $11.5 million in 2007, lost his job to Stephen Tulloch early last season.

Bucs boot Bryant
The Buccaneers cut kicker Matt Bryant, even though his 83.1 field goal percentage in four seasons is the best in franchise history. He injured his right hamstring in practice last month and did not kick in the preseason while Mike Nugent handled the duties. Tampa Bay also traded quarterback Luke McCown to Jacksonville for an undisclosed pick in next year’s draft . . . The Chiefs let go seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Zach Thomas, as well as safety Bernard Pollard, who delivered the hit that ended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s season last September . . . The Chargers cut right guard Kynan Forney, who signed a two-year, $4.8 million contract extension in the offseason . . . The Broncos signed veteran defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday, who played for Miami last season . . . The Redskins placed Colt Brennan on injured reserve with hip and hamstring injuries, and released Chase Daniel, leaving Washington with just two quarterbacks - starter Jason Campbell and veteran Todd Collins.

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