Backup quarterbacks were prominent among players cut Friday as teams whittled their rosters to the 53-man maximum.
Nine-year veteran Seneca Wallace was beaten out by Colt McCoy in Cleveland, Mike Kafka fell to rookie Nick Foles and journeyman Trent Edwards in Philadelphia, Brian Hoyer got axed in New England, Josh McCown was released by Chicago and 12th-year pro Sage Rosenfels didn’t make the cut in Minnesota.
Other veterans released as team’s prepare for the regular season, which begins Wednesday night with Dallas at the New York Giants, included 2005 Super Bowl MVP receiver Deion Branch and center Dan Koppen in New England; defensive backs Joselio Hanson and O.J. Atogwe in Philadelphia; Pittsburgh offensive lineman Trai Essex and punter Jeremy Kapinos, who were waived injured; Buffalo DT Dwan Edwards; and Giants running back D.J. Ware, who won two Super Bowls with the team.
“Today is the worst day of the year,” said John Elway, executive vice president of football operations for the Denver Broncos. “The second-worst is last week when we get down to 75 because of these guys, they put their hearts and souls into being NFL football players. So, you end a lot of dreams and guys put a lot of sweat and tears into trying to make a team. So, it’s always a very tough day.”
Tenth-year cornerback Drayton Florence was cut when Elway decided to keep three quarterbacks in Denver.
Caleb Hanie stuck around even though he was sacked nine times in the preseason, an astonishing once every 4.3 drop-backs. The Broncos also kept rookie Brock Osweiler, a second-round draft pick who was selected with the intention of one day succeeding Peyton Manning.
Of course, if Manning has his way, neither Hanie nor Osweiler will see the field this season.
Teams had until 9 p.m. ET to trim their rosters to 53. They have until Noon ET Saturday to put in waiver claims and sign up to eight practice squad players.
Other notable cuts included:
_Running back Tim Hightower of Washington. The Redskins also let go safety Tanard Jackson, who was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
_Cornerback Alphonso Smith and punter Ryan Donahue of the Detroit Lions.
_Former Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar of the Eagles.
_Veteran defensive ends Dave Ball and Leger Douzable were placed on IR by the Tennessee Titans.
_Former first-round draft pick Vernon Gholston of the St. Louis Rams.
_Outside linebacker Clark Haggans, a 12-year NFL veteran, by the Arizona Cardinals.