'Skins make more cuts in ranks of old guard

Mitchell, Russell latest from Spurrier era to go

Pro Football

August 30, 2004|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Kevin Mitchell, a linebacker in his 11th NFL season, and third-year wide receiver Cliff Russell were cut by the Washington Redskins yesterday.

The team began informing players who were being released yesterday afternoon, but delayed disclosing the list until today.

A league source said Mitchell, who appeared in all 16 games for the team last year, and the speedy Russell, who has had difficulty with injuries, were among those notified they were being waived.

Mitchell was acquired by the Redskins as a free agent in 2000 from the New Orleans Saints. He served as a backup last year to middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and played on special teams.

His best season was 2001 when he started 13 games and had a career-high 82 tackles. He played five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, who drafted him in the second round of 1994, and one season with the Saints.

Mitchell became expendable because of the emergence of younger linebackers, including fourth-year man Antonio Pierce.

Mitchell is not the first Redskin who received significant playing time under departed coach Steve Spurrier to be cut by coach Joe Gibbs. Safety Ifeanyi Ohalete was cut Aug. 17, and running back Trung Canidate, who began last season as a starter, was let go during the offseason.

Russell had missed the first three weeks of this year's training camp with a hamstring injury. He was drafted in the third round of 2002 from Utah, but missed his first season with a knee injury. Last year, he appeared in three games and had two catches for 10 yards.

The Redskins have a glut of receivers, led by veterans Laveranues Coles, Rod Gardner and James Thrash. Several rookies and free agents are also competing for spots.

The Redskins had 90 players on the roster entering the weekend. Rosters must be trimmed to a maximum of 65 by tomorrow.

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