Two-time Olympic skier Bloom cut by Eagles

Updated: September 2, 2007, 3:03 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Philadelphia Eagles: Jeremy Bloom fared better on the slopes than a football field.

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The two-time Olympic skier was among 22 players cut by the Philadelphia Eagles to reach the 53-man roster limit on Saturday. A fifth-round draft pick in 2006, Bloom never played a down in the regular season.

He spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve and hoped to make the team as a return specialist. Bloom averaged 20.3 yards on 12 kickoff returns in the preseason and 7.8 yards on 10 punt returns.

"We wanted more production out of Jeremy and we didn't get it," general manager Tom Heckert said.

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Unless the Eagles add a returner, wideout Greg Lewis will return punts and running back Correll Buckhalter will return kicks.

Veteran punter Dirk Johnson, who spent the last four seasons with the Eagles, also was released. Johnson was beaten out by Sav Rocca, a former Australian football player.

Rocca averaged 45.4 yards per punt in the preseason with a net average of 38.9 yards. Johnson had a gross average of 43.9 yards and a net of 34.8 yards. Last season, Johnson averaged 42.6 yards gross, the highest of his career but 18th overall in the NFL.

"That was the hardest decision we had to make," Heckert said. "It was really close. I think Dirk will be punting for somebody next week. It was a close competition, but we decided to go with Sav because he has a big, big, leg."

The speedy-but-undersized Bloom, listed at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, played two seasons at Colorado before the NCAA ruled he was ineligible in the fall of 2004 because he accepted endorsements to keep his career as a skier on track. He had 24 receptions as a wide receiver, and scored five touchdowns of 75 yards or more returning punts and kickoffs.

After returning from a sixth-place finish at the Turin Olympics in February 2006, Bloom went to the NFL scouting combine, where he ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. Bloom finished ninth at the Olympics in 2002.

Other players released include: running back Nate Ilaoa; cornerbacks Rashad Barksdale and Dustin Fox; fullbacks Jeremy Cain and Jason Davis; defensive tackles Mauricio Lopez and Jeremy Clark; wide receivers Zac Collie, Bill Sampy, J.J. Outlaw and Michael Gasperson; linebackers Tank Daniels and Dedrick Roper; safeties C.J. Gaddis and Erick Harris; offensive linemen Jasper Harvey, Jonathan Palmer and Jacob Hobbs; defensive end Marques Murrell and tight end Lee Vickers.

Elsewhere in NFL camps:

Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville did the expected, cutting quarterback Byron Leftwich.

The seventh overall pick in the 2003 draft and the Jags' starting quarterback for nearly every game since then when he was healthy, Leftwich was released after losing the starting job to David Garrard.

Coach Jack Del Rio had said Friday, when he made the decision, that Leftwich would either be traded or released but that announcement in itself made it difficult to make a deal for him.

Leftwich, often troubled by injuries and lacking mobility, missed 10 games last season because of an ankle injury. He was 19-of-38 passing for 226 yards and a touchdown in three preseason games.

But he played with the starters while Garrard completed 36 of 47 passes for 456 yards and a touchdown mostly against backups. Garrard has started 18 regular-season games in his career and had a passer rating of 80.5 in 10 starts last season with 10 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.

"It's bittersweet news," Garrard said Friday when he heard that Leftwich would go. "I'm definitely shocked. I didn't see this happening. I'm beyond shocked. I really feel like this is a dream, but I know it's not and I know I'm ready."

Dallas Cowboys: Veteran cornerback Aaron Glenn's contract was terminated by the Cowboys, who also put kicker Martin Gramatica on injured reserve.

The Cowboys also cut 20 players, including rookie quarterbacks Matt Moore and Richard Bartel, to get to their roster to the regular-season limit of 53 players. All eight players drafted in April made the team, including rookie kicker Nick Folk.

Glenn played 13 NFL seasons for the New York Jets (1994-2001), Houston (2002-04) and Dallas (2005-06), and was a Pro Bowl player in 2000 and 2001.

Even though starting cornerback Terence Newman is uncertain for the Sept. 9 opener because of a slight tear in the tissue that runs across the base of his foot, the Cowboys didn't keep the 35-year-old Glenn.

Gramatica missed the preseason finale Thursday night because of a strained right hamstring he sustained after missing an extra point and a 51-yard field goal attempt in the preseason. Folk made all three of his field goals during the preseason, including a 52-yarder.

Detroit Lions: The Lions removed running back Kevin Jones from the physically unable to perform list Saturday, setting a day-to-day timetable for his return to the field.

Jones missed the final three games of last season and all of training camp with a broken foot. He had run for 689 yards and three touchdowns while catching 61 passes for 520 yards and two touchdowns.

Lions coach Rod Marinelli said the decision to activate Jones was made after speaking with the surgeon who operated on Jones, and with Lions owner William Clay Ford and team president Matt Millen.

Jones, who had his foot examined by his surgeon Thursday, will be in pads when the Lions practice in preparation for their Sept. 9 season opener at Oakland. Marinelli said it is unknown when Jones will play.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers acquired cornerback-kick returner Allen Rossum from the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday for a conditional 2008 draft pick.

Rossum, a 2005 Pro Bowl player as a return specialist, holds Falcons team records for kickoff and punt return yards and also had two punt return touchdowns. The former Notre Dame player broke into the NFL as a third-round pick with Philadelphia in 1998 before being traded to Green Bay in 2000. He signed with Atlanta as a free agent in 2002.

Miami Dolphins: Fullback Cory Schlesinger and wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim were among 22 players cut Saturday by the Dolphins.

Schlesinger had been expected to start after being acquired as a free agent in the offseason. But coach Cam Cameron praised 270-pound rookie Reagan Mauia throughout training camp and said he might even be used as a tailback.

Mauia appears to be the Week 1 starter after the Dolphins terminated Schlesinger's contract.

Hakim, a veteran who had no receptions in the Dolphins' four exhibition games, also had his contract terminated.

Denver Broncos: The odd man out in Denver's crowded offensive backfield turned out to be starting fullback Kyle Johnson, who was surprisingly among the list of Broncos cuts Saturday.

With the emergence of free agent rookie running back Selvin Young, the Broncos tested Mike Bell at fullback, where he split snaps with Cecil Sapp on Thursday night in the team's exhibition finale. Johnson was out of pads along with the rest of the starters.

That led many to believe that Bell had slipped from being tailback Travis Henry's primary backup to a waiver wire candidate. Instead, it was the five-year veteran Johnson who was jettisoned.

A special teams stalwart, Johnson was the Broncos' primary lead blocker each of the last three seasons, opening holes for three different 1,000-yard rushers. His five touchdown catches in 2005 were the second-most in the league by a running back.

The Broncos also released veteran free agent defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, seventh-year receiver-returner Quincy Morgan, safety Steve Cargile and Chad Mustard, who was moved from tight end to tackle during training camp.

New York Jets: Andre Wadsworth's inspirational comeback ended.

The 32-year-old linebacker, who hadn't played in the NFL since 2000 because of several knee injuries, was cut Saturday by the team.

Veteran defensive linemen Kimo von Oelhoffen and Bobby Hamilton were also among the final cuts. Both are 36.

Wadsworth was a long shot. He was a Florida State star and the No. 3 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 draft, but knee problems ended his career after just 36 games in three seasons. After 13 knee operations and nearly seven years since last playing in the NFL, Wadsworth took a break from his thriving car dealerships to give football a shot again.

"I think Andre is just such a good role model in so many ways," coach Eric Mangini said.

Tennessee Titans: Tennessee released starting free safety Lamont Thompson and quarterback Tim Rattay among 20 players waived Saturday, choosing for now to go with Vince Young and his backup Kerry Collins.

Thompson had been a starting safety for the Titans the past three seasons, starting 45 of 77 games in his five NFL seasons. He had 77 tackles and three interceptions last season but struggled at times. Not even two interceptions this preseason could help him salvage his job.

New Orleans Saints: Running back Antonio Pittman, the Saints' fourth-round draft choice, was among 12 players cut by New Orleans on Saturday.

Quarterback Tyler Palko was also cut, although he appeared to be a strong candidate for the team's practice squad should he clear waivers.

St. Louis Rams: Offensive lineman Todd Steussie was placed on injured reserve Saturday, two days after he broke his left foot in the team's final preseason game.

The move was made after team medical personnel revised their estimate for Steussie's recovery, which had initially been six to eight weeks. The Rams now believe he'll be out at least eight weeks.

Steussie, 36, was injured in the first half of a 10-3 victory over Kansas City on Thursday. The 13-year veteran missed only two games since entering the league in 1994 and made 15 starts last year, filling in at left guard and left tackle due to injuries.

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders released third-round pick Quentin Moses, veteran fullback Zack Crockett and free-agent safety Donovin Darius.

Moses, the first pick of the third round, was competing for the starting right defensive end spot until late in the preseason. Tommy Kelly won the job when he moved from tackle after the Raiders acquired Gerard Warren from Denver and fifth-rounder Jay Richardson beat Moses out for the backup role. By keeping Warren on the roster, the Raiders must give Denver a fifth-round pick in next year's draft.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.