Wide receiver Antonio Bryant was released Sunday by the Cincinnati Bengals, who signed him to a four-year, $28 million deal in March thinking he would be their long-term complement to Chad Ochocinco.
It's the second time in two years that the Bengals went after a high-profile free agent receiver, then changed their minds soon after signing him. They got Laveranues Coles to replace T.J. Houshmandzadeh last year, then released him after one season.
Bryant and Terrell Owens worked out for the Bengals in March. Cincinnati chose Bryant, who was coming off an injury-marred season. He had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left knee last year, and caught only 39 passes for Tampa Bay.
The Bengals gave him the big contract, including roughly $7 million in first-year bonuses, convinced that the knee was fine. It began bothering him over the summer, and he wasn't able to practice with the team during training camp. The Bengals signed Owens to a one-year deal at the start of camp, giving them another option.
Owens quickly developed into the Bengals' top receiver in preseason. Bryant missed all four preseason games because of the knee problem.
The move came shortly after Coles was released by the Jets, who signed him after Cincinnati let him go.
•It could be a smoke screen or just a cautious assessment of his quarterback's health, but Mike Shanahan said he's not certain Donovan McNabb will be available for the Washington Redskins' season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
"I really don't know for sure," Shanahan said. "That's why it's day by day. We'll see how it goes."
McNabb hasn't practiced since spraining his left ankle in the second preseason game against Baltimore. He sat out Friday's game against the New York Jets and watched Sunday's practice with a black sleeve on his left leg.
Shanahan said the leg was too sore for McNabb to play Thursday against the Arizona Cardinals, but McNabb likely wouldn't have played anyway because the coach prefers to rest his starters and some of his top backups in the final exhibition to avoid injuries. No. 2 quarterback Rex Grossman said he wouldn't play either, leaving John Beck and Richard Bartel to take the snaps against the Cardinals.