Quarterback Jeff Garcia, who was signed by Oakland in the offseason to push JaMarcus Russell and serve as a mentor to the former No. 1 overall draft pick, was among 22 players let go by the Raiders yesterday as teams met the NFL deadline to reach the 53-man roster limit.
The decision to release Garcia means Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye will head into the regular season as Russell’s backups.
Garcia, who has 116 starts in 10 NFL seasons, signed a one-year contract with Oakland in April and acknowledged then the idea of being a backup was tough to handle, which may have factored into the team’s decision to release the 39-year-old quarterback.
“There was some talk about how he would fit but the best way for me to approach it is the other two played so well and we are committed to JaMarcus as our starter,’’ coach Tom Cable said.
Garcia missed two weeks of training camp with a sore left calf muscle and didn’t play in the Raiders’ first preseason game. He returned in mid-August and played sparingly in the preseason, compiling a passer rating of 67.1 that was the lowest among Oakland’s four quarterbacks. He was just 3 of 6 for 12 yards in a loss to Seattle Thursday night.
Tyree missed last season after failing to come all the way back from offseason knee surgery. The 29-year-old wide receiver battled minor groin, hamstring, and knee injuries in training camp this year and played in only two preseason games.
“It’s obviously a time of mixed feelings,’’ Tyree said after being informed of his release. “This is part of the journey. It’s not like it’s a great day. But at the same time I’m filled with expectations about what’s next on this track, and I’m excited, as well.’’
Patten, who caught a touchdown pass in the Patriots’ 20-17 upset of the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, had his contract terminated by the Browns.
Other former Patriots getting the ax included defensive tackle Dan Klecko and fullback Kyle Eckel by the Eagles, linebacker Bo Ruud by the Buccaneers, and defensive backs Deltha O’Neal (Texans) and Antwain Spann (Broncos).
When Taylor returned to the Dolphins from his one-year detour with the Redskins, there was a sense he could be used only in certain situations this season. Not anymore - and by Dolphins coach Tony Sparano’s account, that was never the case. “We talked about opportunity, having to come in and compete,’’ Sparano said. “I don’t think anywhere in there did Jason Taylor sign up to play 22 plays.’’
Milloy, who was released in February after starting the last three seasons for the Falcons, indicated on his Twitter page he would sign with Seattle. He worked out with the Lions last week.
Trufant, a Pro Bowl selection in 2007, begins the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. He has not practiced since before training camp because of a disk issue in his back.
Grossman, who missed most of the preseason with a hamstring injury, returned to throw two TD passes in Houston’s 27-20 win over Tampa Bay Friday. He was so impressive coach Gary Kubiak said the ex-Bear and Dan Orlovsky are now even in the competition to be Matt Schaub’s backup.
Rhodes’s departure leaves Buffalo with only two experienced running backs - Jackson and second-year player Xavier Omon - as the team prepares to open against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium Sept. 14.
Rhodes, a member of the Colts’ championship team in 2007, was entering his ninth NFL season after signing a two-year contract with Buffalo in April. He was due to make a base salary of $750,000 this season and $1.25 million next year.
Fowler, who signed a four-year deal worth $11.5 million in 2007, lost his job to Stephen Tulloch early last season.