'Skins release Upshaw, McCullough, 20 others

Cartwright, Betts make it

only four cornerbacks left on 53-man roster

Pro Football

September 06, 2004|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Veteran defensive end Regan Upshaw, who started eight games last year, and Sultan McCullough, who led the team in rushing in the preseason, were among 22 players released by the Washington Redskins yesterday.

Also cut was cornerback Rashad Bauman, who had provided depth in the secondary the past two years and played on special teams. He was beaten out by second-year player Ade Jimoh as the Redskins decided to keep just four cornerbacks on the active roster. Last year, Jimoh was victimized on two long touchdown passes and was publicly criticized by then-coach Steve Spurrier.

Also cut was former Maryland wide receiver Jafar Williams. He had a key 35-yard reception in the fourth quarter of the opening preseason win against the Denver Broncos, but was trying to crack the roster primarily on his special teams ability.

Both Bauman and Williams could still be signed to an eight-man practice squad that will be named today.

Upshaw was the most notable name on the cut list as Washington pared its roster to the required 53 players. Entering his ninth NFL season, Upshaw was signed as a free agent before last season after a career that included three seasons - two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and one with the Oakland Raiders - in which he recorded at least seven sacks.

Last year, he had 22 tackles and one sack.

Among coach Joe Gibbs' most difficult choices were at running back. Clinton Portis is entrenched as the starter, but four players - McCullough, Rock Cartwright, Ladell Betts and John Simon - were vying for backup roles.

The Redskins chose to keep Betts, who rebounded from a hamstring injury to play in the last two preseason games. He scored two touchdowns in the preseason finale, a 27-0 rout of the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night.

Simon, a versatile third-year back who can also return kicks, did not play Friday because of a shoulder injury and was placed on injured reserve.

Cartwright did not play either but still made the team. A workmanlike back who blocks well and plays on special teams, Cartwright was a short-yardage specialist last year who started three games and scored four touchdowns.

McCullough made the Redskins last year as a free agent after excelling in the preseason. He played in only one regular-season game.

This summer, McCullough rushed for 212 yards on 61 carries, a 3.4 average, and had nine catches for 52 yards.

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