Cowboys release safety Williams

Updated: March 5, 2009, 1:40 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Two days ago, Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams publicly requested his release from the club.

Phillips on Roy Williams

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Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips discusses Roy Williams' hard style of tackling.

On Thursday, he was granted his wish.

Just one day after jettisoning wide receiver Terrell Owens, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones maintained the trend of pink slips for his high-profile players by terminating Williams' contract. The move, first reported by The Dallas Morning News and confirmed through league sources, makes Williams a free agent and puts a youthful and still-productive defensive player on the open market.

Williams, 28, was the Cowboys' first-round pick in the 2002 draft, from Oklahoma.

The seven-year veteran, a fixture in the Dallas interior secondary, was named to five Pro Bowl teams and one All-Pro squad. During his career with the Cowboys, Williams collected 611 tackles, 6½ sacks, 19 interceptions and 56 passes defensed.

Blessed with the instincts of a safety and the hitting power of a linebacker, Williams was often a liability in pass coverage. He was at his best playing close to the line of scrimmage and was an effective defender versus the run.

Williams recently signed a $25 million contract extension, which included an $11 million signing bonus. His departure saves the Cowboys about $1 million in salary-cap room.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

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