Troubled cornerback Adam (Pacman) Jones is looking for a team again.
While several other NFL teams were releasing former starters Monday on the first day waivers could be sought, none made the kind of headlines Jones has created throughout a pro career now in serious jeopardy.
Last season, Jones was suspended for six games by the NFL after an alcohol-related scuffle in October with a team-provided bodyguard at a Dallas hotel.
He came to Dallas after being suspended for the entire 2007 season following multiple off-field incidents while with the Tennessee Titans. The Cowboys acquired him in a trade during the draft in April, and commissioner Roger Goodell cleared him to play at the end of the pre-season.
Expected to give the Cowboys a boost on defence and special teams, Jones had 31 tackles and no interceptions in his nine games, including six starts. He averaged only 4.5 yards on his 21 punt returns, with a long of 18 yards.
Before coming to Dallas, Jones was arrested six times and involved in 12 instances requiring police intervention after Tennessee drafted him in the first round in 2005.
The Lions began their rebuilding from the first 0-16 record in league history by cutting six players.
High-priced cornerback Leigh Bodden, wide receiver Mike Furrey, guard Edwin Mulitalo, safety Dwight Smith and tight end Dan Campbell all were frequent starters.
Also released was offensive tackle Jon Dunn.
Acquiring Bodden was the Lions’ biggest move last winter. They traded standout defensive tackle Shaun Rogers to Cleveland for Bodden and a third-round pick. Bodden had a lacklustre season while Rogers earned his third trip to the Pro Bowl.
Bodden signed a US$27 million, four-year contract extension with the Lions before the season. Bodden was due an $8.6 million roster bonus next month.
He intercepted one pass for the Lions after he had 11 interceptions in Cleveland the previous three years, including six in 2007.
Furrey had 98 receptions for 1,000-plus yards and six touchdowns in 2006 with the Lions after he started 11 games as a defensive back in 2005 with the St. Louis Rams.
Mulitalo started 11 games last season and 15 the year before in Detroit. He has started 128 games since making his NFL debut with the Baltimore Ravens in 1999.
Smith didn’t have an interception in seven starts and three games as a backup last year. Smith was a solid starter for Minnesota, New Orleans and Tampa Bay before signing last season with the Lions.
Injuries limited Campbell to just three games the past two seasons after starting 23 games during the 2005-06 seasons in Detroit and playing regularly for the Cowboys and Giants.
The Giants re-signed David Carr to back up Eli Manning at quarterback, and released three veterans who finished the 2008 season on injured reserve: defensive backs Sam Madison and Sammy Knight, and running back Reuben Droughns.
Carr, the first overall pick by Houston in 2002, the team’s first season in the NFL, threw only 12 passes last season, completing nine for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think that going beyond a one-year opportunity allows the relationship between Eli and Dave to continue to grow,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “A lot of really good positive things come out of the meeting room with regard to two veteran quarterbacks. … I think it is also beneficial to David Carr’s career that he spend a minimum of another year with the New York Giants.”
Droughns, Madison and Knight had a combined 33 years of NFL experience, but were backups until they were hurt.
Backup quarterback Luke McCown re-signed with the Buccaneers.
McCown, a fourth-round draft pick by Cleveland in 2004, has appeared in seven games over four seasons with the Bucs, including three starts in 2007. The 27-year-old also started four games for the Browns as a rookie and has thrown for 1,617 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 12 career games.
Quarterbacks Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski, who both started games for Cleveland last season, were cut.
Dorsey was the club’s third-string quarterback, but had to make three starts after the Browns lost Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn to season-ending injuries. He injured his ribs and sustained a mild concussion in a Dec. 21 loss at Cincinnati, forcing the club to sign Gradkowski for the season finale against Pittsburgh.
The Browns also terminated the contracts of linebacker Antwan Peek, cornerback Terry Cousin, punter Mike Dragosavich, kicker Jason Reda and offensive lineman Eric Young.
Peek missed the entire 2008 season after sustaining a knee injury during training camp. He played in 14 games for the Browns in 2007.