NFL notes: Eagles release Tim Tebow
The Eagles released Tim Tebow Saturday along with 21 other players before the NFL’s roster deadline at 4 p.m.
Tebow had seemingly won the No. 3 quarterback job when Philadelphia traded Matt Barkley to Arizona on Friday. But coach Chip Kelly cut Tebow following his best preseason performance at the New York Jets on Thursday night.
‘‘We felt Tim has progressed, but we didn’t feel he was good enough to be the (No.) 3 right now,’’ Kelly said.
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner was trying to return to the NFL after missing two seasons.
The Eagles currently have only two quarterbacks on the roster: Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez. Bradford looked sharp in limited preseason action, but he had surgery to repair a torn left ACL twice since he last played in a regular-season game in October 2013.
‘‘[Tim] really improved his throwing motion from when he was throwing a couple of years ago,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘He worked extremely hard on it and deserves a lot of credit for that. I talked to him a little earlier [Saturday] when we released him.
‘‘He just needs to get more playing time. Get out there and get actual reps. Because he has done a ton on his own from an individual basis, but it is about taking that next step and playing in the game.’’
It’s possible Tebow returns to the Eagles if either Bradford or Sanchez get hurt. He also can come back after the season opener and his contract won’t be guaranteed.
For now, the Eagles are going forward without him.
‘‘We are not done,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘There could be a third quarterback. We'll see what happens with the waiver wire. Whether we add a quarterback to the active roster or the practice squad, we'll see.’’
Tebow was 11 for 17 for 189 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Jets. He showed his accuracy has improved since his first stint in the NFL. Tebow finished the preseason 21 of 36 for 286 yards, two TDs and one interception. He also ran for 82 yards and one TD.
Tebow last played in a regular-season game with the Jets in 2012. He was cut by New England in training camp in 2013. He worked as a college football analyst on the SEC Network last year, but got another chance to play in the NFL when the Eagles signed him in the offseason.
Tebow led Florida to the national championship his junior season and was a first-round pick by Denver in 2010. He started 16 games during two seasons with the Broncos, including a playoff victory over Pittsburgh in January 2012. Tebow was traded to the Jets after Denver signed Peyton Manning.
Cassel is cut
Matt Cassel went from losing the Bills’ three-way quarterback competition to losing his job in Buffalo.
The 10-year journeyman was the most notable of five players cut by the Bills.
The decision to cut Cassel came as a slight surprise. A day earlier Cassel said he was given ‘‘no indication’’ from the team that he should be worried about his job. He added that he was under the impression the Bills were intending to keep three quarterbacks after Buffalo released fourth-stringer Matt Simms.
Cassel’s release leaves Buffalo with two quarterbacks, led by Tyrod Taylor, who was selected as the starter on Monday. Former starter and 2013 first-round draft pick EJ Manuel is the backup.
Coach Rex Ryan went with Taylor because of his mobility, which makes him a dual-threat as a passer and rusher.
Cassel, by comparison, lacks speed and mobility and is regarded as more of a pocket passer. He was also coming off surgery to repair a broken left foot that forced him to miss the final 13 games of last season.
Another reason Cassel became the odd-man out was the $4.15 million base salary he was due in the final year of his contract. That’s regarded as expensive for a backup quarterback.
The Bills acquired Cassel in an offseason trade with Minnesota, and he spent a majority of the offseason working with Buffalo’s starting offense. Cassel’s playing time, however, diminished once the preseason began.
He was limited to appearing in just four series split over two games, and finished 13 of 15 for 83 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.
Flynn released by Jets
The Jets are down to two healthy quarterbacks, as Matt Flynn and Josh Johnson were among their cuts.
Flynn and Johnson were signed this summer to compete for a backup role behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, who became the starter after Geno Smith had his jaw broken on Aug. 11 by a punch from then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali. Smith was expected to miss at least the first four games of the regular season.
The Jets’ only other healthy quarterback is rookie Bryce Petty, a fourth-round pick out of Baylor.
Flynn was signed on Aug. 19, after he had spent time in Patriots camp, but dealt with a hamstring issue for most of his short stint with the Jets before making his debut in the preseason finale against Philadelphia. He went 10 of 14 for 136 yards with two TDs and an interception, while Johnson was 7 of 12 for 82 yards and had 76 yards rushing on seven carries in his first action with New York after being signed on Aug. 27.
‘‘It'll be tough,’’ coach Todd Bowles said that night of choosing between Flynn and Johnson. ‘‘They bring different dynamics to the game.’’
It turned out the choice was neither, although the Jets could still re-sign one of them after Week 1 to avoid having to pay a guaranteed salary.
Flynn thanked the Jets through his Twitter account, and then tweeted: ‘‘For now, it’s #bloodymary time’’ — with a photo of a cocktail garnished with celery, olives and two strips of bacon.
Among the Jets’ other notable cuts were veteran linebacker Jason Babin and wide receivers Chris Owusu and Walter Powell.
Former Patriots running back Stevan Ridley was placed on the reserve-physically unable to perform list while he continues to heal from torn knee ligaments that have kept him sidelined since last October, when he got hurt. He was signed by the Jets in the offseason, but did not practice or play in the preseason.
Defensive end Sheldon Richardson and guard Oday Aboushi were placed on the suspended list. Richardson must sit out the first four games of the season after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and is facing possible additional discipline after being charged with resisting arrest in July and keeping it from the team, a violation of the personal conduct policy.
Aboushi was suspended for one game, also for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, after he was pulled over for a traffic violation in January and police found a small amount of marijuana in his car.
Bengals drop Still
Defensive tackle Devon Still tweeted thanks to the Bengals and the city after he was released.
Still’s 5-year-old daughter, Leah, has overcome cancer in the past year and is finishing treatments to rebuild her immune system. The Bengals kept Still last season in part so he'd have health insurance to cover his daughter’s treatments.
Leah’s story drew international attention, and the team donated more than $1 million in sales from Still’s No. 75 jersey to Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati for pediatric cancer research and treatment.
‘‘Have nothing but love for the Bengals organization and the city of Cincinnati,’’ Still tweeted after he was released. ‘‘Both helped me through one of the darkest times of my life and I am forever grateful. It’s time to move forward and see what’s next #iKnowThereIsAPlanForMe.’’
The second-round pick from 2012 now has enough time in the NFL that he can get five years of medical coverage through the league.
A year ago, the Bengals made him part of their final cuts, but offered him a chance to stay on the practice squad to keep his medical coverage. He was eventually added to the roster and played in 12 games. He was hoping to win a spot in the Bengals’ rotation on the defensive line, but the team chose to keep younger players.
‘‘Devon had a good preseason for us,’’ coach Marvin Lewis said. ‘‘He’s got to feel good about that; he put a good foot forward. An opportunity will come, whether it comes here down the line or somewhere else.
‘‘Unfortunately it’s part of professional sports. Not everybody can stay and be there at the end.’’
The Bengals also put linebacker Vontaze Burfict on the physically unable to perform list. He'll be eligible to return to practice after six weeks. Burfict is recovering from two knee operations and didn’t practice with the team during training camp.
Lewis said it’s possible that Burfict could have been ready in less than six weeks.
Titans jettison Nicks
The Titans released veteran wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.
They had signed Nicks to a one-year contract; the move leaves Tennessee with four receivers with Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas, Justin Hunter, and rookie Dorial Green-Beckham. The Titans also kept five tight ends with Chase Coffman and Phillip Supernaw on the roster for now.
Steelers let Legursky go
Doug Legursky’s return to the Steelers didn’t last long. The team, which faces the host Patriots in the NFL opener Thursday night, cut the veteran offensive lineman, less than two weeks after it signed him as a potential replacement for injured All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey. Legursky started 17 games for the Steelers during his first stint in Pittsburgh from 2009-12, including the 2011 Super Bowl against Green Bay when Pouncey was hurt.
Pittsburgh also released running back Josh Harris, who was vying for a backup spot behind Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams. The Steelers cut cornerback Gerod Holliman, a seventh-round pick, while keeping wide receiver Tyler Murphy, a converted quarterback from Boston College.
Redskins doctor resigns
An NFL spokesman said that the doctor who reversed course on Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III’s post-concussion playing status has resigned and been replaced as the team’s independent neurological consultant.
The NFL’s Brian McCarthy said that Robert Kurtzke left the consultant program operated jointly by the league and the players’ union.
McCarthy said Kurtzke will still monitor Griffin’s status and determine when he can be cleared to play.
He said Abraham Kader is the new NFL-NFLPA independent neurological consultant assigned to the Redskins.
Giants make trims
The Giants cut middle linebacker and leading tackler Jameel McClain. The team also announced that fullback Henry Hynoski, one of the few remaining links to its 2012 Super Bowl win, also had his contract terminated . . . Former Ohio State and Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor has made the Browns’ roster as a wide receiver despite not catching a pass during the preseason. The Browns also released quarterback Thad Lewis, leaving them with just starter Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel, who has resumed throwing after being limited by a sore elbow the past few weeks. Pryor, who made 10 starts for the Raiders, could serve as Cleveland’s third quarterback . . . Former Australian rugby league star Jarryd Hayne said on Twitter he made the cut with the 49ers, earning a spot on their 53-man roster Saturday as coach Jim Tomsula finalized his team heading into the regular season. The 27-year-old rookie return man made good on his goal nearly a year after leaving his old sport to chase a new NFL dream across the world. The 49ers kept linebacker Ahmad Brooks on the active roster, saying they are in contact with the NFL and both the judicial process and league evaluation will determine any further action following his legal trouble last month . . . The Panthers cut running back Jordan Todman, the former Dartmouth High School star . . . In Denver, Tony Carter, a seventh-year cornerback, tweeted that he’d been cut. Carter has been bothered by a pulled hamstring since Aug. 17 . . . The Dolphins will have undrafted rookies handle both their placekicking and punting this season. Veteran Caleb Sturgis was cut Saturday, and the Dolphins gave the job to Andrew Franks. They earlier chose rookie punter Matt Darr over veteran Brandon Fields. The Dolphins terminated the contract of quarterback Josh Freeman, as expected . . . Veteran kicker Nick Novak was released by the Chargers . . . The Packers are going with second-year players Myles White and Jeff Janis to fill out a receiving corps that will be without injured Jordy Nelson all season.
The NFL has suspended starting Cardinals right tackle Bobby Massie two games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. A person close to the situation had said several weeks ago that Massie was initially suspended for three games but was appealing the penalty. Massie was arrested on an accusation of driving under the influence the night before the Super Bowl. The arrest was made at the Cardinals’ practice facility in Tempe. Massie, who started all 16 games plus the playoff game last season, can return to practice the week following the Cardinals’ Sept. 20 game at Chicago. The Cardinals had anticipated the suspension, with Massie practicing with the third team in recent weeks. During the suspension, he will not count on the 53-man roster . . . The 49ers acquired center Nick Easton, an undrafted free agent out of Harvard, from the Ravens for an undisclosed draft pick, giving the team a backup to Marcus Martin. Martin is the slated starter as Daniel Kilgore recovers from a second procedure on his left fibula June 13. He fractured it last October, and is scheduled to be out of his walking boot this week. He was placed on the reserve physically unable to perform list, meaning he is eligible to return after six weeks . . . Crews were inspecting the roof of the Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis after three people were injured by a bolt that fell during Thursday night’s Colts game against the Bengals.