Bengals cut former first-rounder Perry

Updated: April 27, 2009, 5:01 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The Cincinnati Bengals began their post-draft roster reshuffling in earnest on Monday by releasing five veterans, the most prominent of whom was former first-round tailback Chris Perry.

Cincinnati chose Perry with the 26th overall selection in the 2004 draft, but got very little production from him because of injuries and idleness.

The Bengals, who signed undrafted free-agent wide receiver Quan Cosby out of Texas, also announced Monday afternoon that they have released tight end Nate Lawrie, tailback Gary Russell, defensive end Eric Henderson, and safety Mike Doss. The team had claimed Russell off waivers from Pittsburgh only last week.

The big news, though, was the Bengals' decision to give up on the disappointing Perry. The former University of Michigan standout gave the team very little return on its investment in him, appearing in only 35 of a possible 80 games for his star-crossed career, with just nine starts.

Perry, 27, was entering the final year of his contract, with a scheduled base salary of $1.008 million for 2009. Cincinnati will immediately be rebated that amount into its '09 salary cap.

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A speedy runner in college, and a performer who could break the big play, Perry was chosen by the Bengals as a complementary-type back to then-starter and physical inside runner Rudi Johnson. He was supposed to provide the Bengals a change-of-pace tailback with great speed, but a series of leg and foot injuries made him often unavailable to coach Marvin Lewis.

In five seasons, Perry carried 177 times for 606 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 83 receptions for 474 yards and two scores.

Perry suffered a maddening series of mostly-nagging injuries that kept him off the field. He sustained a fractured leg late in the 2006 season, and missed the entire 2007 campaign while recovering from it.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

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