Smith survives cuts made as Ravens reduce roster to 75

Updated: August 27, 2007, 8:42 PM ET
Associated Press

Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith has earned the job as the Baltimore Ravens' third-string quarterback. His place on the team, however, is not yet guaranteed.

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Check out all the NFL transactions as they cross the wire. Teams had to make their final roster cuts Saturday, and continue to fine-tune rosters heading into their season openers. Transactions

The Ravens cut former UCLA quarterback Drew Olson on Monday, leaving Smith alone on the depth chart behind starter Steve McNair and backup Kyle Boller.

"What still has to be determined is if we'll carry two or three quarterbacks on the active roster," Baltimore coach Brian Billick said. "Last year we carried two."

Smith was 3-for-11 for 34 yards in the opener against Philadelphia and 4-for-8 for 60 yards against the New York Giants. Olson was 7-for-9 for 84 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles, but only 1-for-4 for 6 yards against New York.

Elsewhere in the NFL:

San Francisco 49ers: Coach Mike Nolan probably won't listen to his Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore's pleas for a little playing time in Thursday's exhibition finale at San Diego.

Gore, who led the NFC with 1,695 yards rushing last season, hasn't suited up since breaking his right hand on the second day of training camp. With his hand almost completely healed, he has participated in certain drills during practice in the last two weeks.

"I want to be out there for my team," Gore said Monday. "I miss being out there with the guys. But he's the coach, so I'll go with his decision. I feel really good, and I'm just working hard right now."

Nolan has resisted Gore's pleas for playing time so far in the preseason.

Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys starting cornerback Terence Newman still hopes to play in the season opener even though his painful right heel is "not getting better yet."

Newman said Monday that he has a small tear in his plantar fascia, or tissue in the bottom of the foot.

"It's something that is going to be bothering me for the whole year," said Newman, who has started all 64 games since he was a first-round pick in 2003. "Right now, the problem that I have is that I can't plant on it. There is no way I can plant on my foot."

Oakland Raiders: Lane Kiffin narrowed his choice for a starting quarterback down to two players on but the Raiders coach still isn't ready to announce his decision.

Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper, both of whom started preseason games, will continue to split reps with the Raiders' first offense in practice this week. Both will also share time in Thursday's preseason finale in Seattle, with McCown starting and Culpepper coming in as his backup.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars cut 11 players from their roster, including veteran tight end Jermaine Wiggins and safety Nick Sorensen.

The cuts came a day before NFL teams had to reduce their rosters to a maximum of 75 players.

Wiggins signed as a free agent from Minnesota last spring to help fill a void at tight end but became expendable with the return of George Wrighster from a torn rotator cuff. Wiggins had one catch for 1 yard in three preseason games.

New York Jets: Veteran wide receiver Tim Dwight was among eight players released by the team.

Dwight, in his 10th NFL season and second with the Jets, was on the physically unable to perform list all summer. He had 16 catches -- nine on third-down plays -- for 112 yards before he injured a foot and missed the last five regular-season games and New York's playoff game at New England. Dwight was also the team's primary punt returner with a 10.4-yard average

"It's hard to tell someone that they're not making the team," coach Eric Mangini said. "Tim, having a relationship and knowing him for a while and knowing the type of person he is, the character he has, it's always that much more difficult."

Meanwhile, Andre Wadsworth's unlikely comeback will continue for at least a few more days.

The former No. 3 overall draft pick, who hadn't played in the NFL since 2000 because of severe knee injuries, survived the first round of cuts.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevan Barlow, a former 49ers and Jets running back who signed with his hometown Steelers earlier this year, was among 10 players released during Pittsburgh's first roster cutdown.

Barlow, from Pitt, was signed May 10 to compete for the backup running back's role behind Willie Parker. But Barlow quickly fell out of the rotation early in training camp and never made a strong push to make the team, despite carrying four times for 14 yards and a touchdown Sunday night against Philadelphia.

New York Giants: One-time special teams Pro Bowler David Tyree of the Giants will be sidelined up to six weeks with a broken left wrist.

Tyree will have surgery, coach Tom Coughlin said, adding that the team was willing to keep him on the roster in hopes of getting him back.

Coughlin also was concerned about receiver Plaxico Burress, who missed practice Monday because of a back problem and was being examined by doctors in New York City.

Coughlin said Burress' back started acting up last week.

Meanwhile, halfback Reuben Droughns will play some fullback in the preseason finale Thursday against the Patriots in New England.

Detroit Lions: The Lions will put second-year safety Daniel Bullocks on injured reserve after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

Bullocks was to start at free safety this season after leading all NFC rookie defensive backs with 70 tackles last season. His right knee buckled during a non-contact play Saturday in the second quarter of the Lions' 37-10 loss at Indianapolis.

Lions coach Rod Marinelli said he didn't know when Bullocks will have surgery, because doctors must wait for the swelling to go down.

Buffalo Bills: Bills backup cornerback Kiwaukee Thomas is expected to play in Buffalo's preseason finale after dislocating a finger on his left hand Monday.

The Bills sent Thomas to a local hospital for tests to determine the extent of the injury before having the finger set back in place, coach Dick Jauron said. Thomas returned in time for the end of practice, which he watched from the sideline with his left hand heavily wrapped.

Buffalo (1-2) will play at Detroit on Thursday without starting cornerback Terrence McGee, who is recovering from a concussion he sustained in a 28-17 loss to Tennessee on Friday. Jauron expects McGee to be ready for the Bills season opener against Denver on Sept. 9.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press