Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NFL: Champ Bailey, Michael Sam released

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

Jettisoned by the New Orleans 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.

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Coach Jeff Fisher said that cutting Sam 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."

On Twitter, roughly an hour after he was cut, Sam wrote: "The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I've always known. The journey continues." He also thanked the Rams and city of St. Louis on Twitter, adding that he looks forward to a long and successful career.

Other notable players who were either waived or released included:

Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill, a 2012 second-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech who failed to follow in the footsteps of fellow alumni Demaryius Thomas and Calvin Johnson. He finished the last two seasons in IR.

Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the team's top rusher the last two seasons who was made expendable when the team drafted Louisiana State's Jeremy Hill in the second round.

Browns receiver Nate Burleson, an 11-year veteran who was slowed by a hamstring injury in camp.

Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson, ending a bizarre week that began when he left the team before its preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 22, leading to a suspension.

Saints kickers Shayne Graham and Derek Dimke. The Saints did not immediately indicate what their intentions were at kicker after cutting both the veteran Graham and the rookie Dimke. They could have in mind one of a number of kickers cut by other clubs, including Ryan Succop, who was let go by Kansas City, or ex-Cardinal Jay Feely.

Giants quarterback Curtis Painter, which means Malvern Prep graduate Ryan Nassib won the job as backup to Eli Manning.

Chargers tight end Mike Flacco, younger brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco of Audubon.

Associated Press
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