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NFL Notebook

Bears discard veteran Taylor

Associated Press / September 4, 2011

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The Bears let veteran running back Chester Taylor go, after all.

Taylor’s agent, Ken Sarnoff, said the team informed him yesterday that his client’s contract was terminated, bringing a wild episode to an expected end.

The Bears began the day with 66 players on their roster and had to get to 53 by the 6 p.m. deadline. Taylor was widely believed to be on the way out, and he believed he was finished in Chicago early in the week.

He did not play in the third preseason game at Tennessee and left team headquarters thinking he had been released after a meeting with coach Lovie Smith Monday. Taylor was back practicing the next day and started the exhibition finale against Cleveland Thursday, struggling for 27 yards on 10 attempts.

He said afterward he wasn’t sure about his future in Chicago.

The Bears signed Taylor in 2010 to a four-year, $12.5 million contract with $7 million guaranteed, hoping he would push Matt Forte. Instead, he ran for just 267 yards while averaging a career-low 2.4 per carry.

If there was any doubt Taylor was on shaky ground in Chicago, it got wiped away when the team signed Marion Barber and added him to the mix behind Forte. Barber’s now the No. 2 back.

The Bears also released tight end Desmond Clark, who ranks ninth in team history with 242 catches, and waived defensive tackle Marcus Harrison and eight others. Rookie linebacker J.T. Thomas was placed on injured reserve.

Giants keep Herzlich Former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich survived the Giants’ cuts. An undrafted free agent and a cancer survivor, Herzlich recorded six tackles and an interception during the preseason. “Herzlich didn’t bat an eye the whole camp,’’ coach Tom Coughlin said. “I saw him improve literally week by week.’’ The Giants axed punter Matt Dodge, giving the job to Steve Weatherford, and placed Sage Rosenfels on injured reserve, making David Carr the No. 2 quarterback . . . The Bills cut their most experienced offensive lineman, Geoff Hangartner. The six-year veteran had lost his starting job at center to Eric Wood. Hangartner was also the team’s highest-paid lineman, scheduled to make $2.55 million this year, and $5.35 million in base salary over the final two years of his contract . . . The Jets made two trades, sending defensive back Dwight Lowery to Jacksonville for an undisclosed conditional draft choice and acquiring guard Caleb Schlauderaff from Green Bay for an undisclosed conditional draft choice.

NFL suspends two Titans fullback Ahmard Hall was suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. To fill Hall’s blocking role, Tennessee acquired fullback Quinn Johnson from Green Bay for an undisclosed future draft pick. Wide receiver Justin Gage was among the Titans’ cuts . . . Bengals starting right guard Bobbie Williams was suspended for the first four games of the season because he violated the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Williams won’t be allowed to work out with the team until the fifth week of the season . . . The Bengals placed cornerback Adam “Pacman’’ Jones (neck) and linebacker Keith Rivers (wrist) on the physically unable to perform list, meaning they’ll miss at least the first six weeks of the season. Cincinnati also released Dan LeFevour, leaving rookie Andy Dalton and Bruce Gradkowski as the only quarterbacks on the roster . . . Bengals running back Cedric Benson was released from a Texas jail after serving five days of a 20-day sentence for misdemeanor assault.

Harris out in Indy Former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris was hoping to revive his career in Indianapolis, but instead was part of the Colts’ purge. Indy waived former UConn standout Dan Orlovsky, making Curtis Painter the third-string quarterback . . . Other veteran quarterbacks to go included Trent Edwards (Raiders), Josh McCown (49ers), and Kellen Clemens (Redskins) . . . The Broncos waived Perrish Cox, cutting ties with the cornerback who is facing a sexual assault trial later this year. Cox started nine times as a rookie last year, but he played poorly in the final preseason game Thursday night at Arizona. One player who outplayed Cox in camp, Syd’Quan Thompson, suffered a torn Achilles’ Thursday and was placed on injured reserve . . . Linebackers Tavares Gooden and Prescott Burgess were among the Ravens’ cuts.

Browns lose RB Brandon Jackson signed a two-year, $4.5 million free agent contract with the Browns before training camp opened. Cleveland won’t be able to use him this season after Jackson was placed on injured reserve with a toe injury. Jackson was hurt in an Aug. 19 exhibition against Detroit and has been in a cast for two weeks . . . The Jaguars placed backup running back Rashad Jennings on injured reserve and waived safety Don Carey, who started 10 games last season. Jacksonville also cut former Patriots cornerback Terrence Wheatley . . . The Seahawks lost some depth along the defensive line, placing Jimmy Wilkerson on injured reserve after he suffered a knee injury in Friday night’s game against Oakland. Seattle also released veteran defensive tackle Colin Cole.

Moeaki goes on IR Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki went on injured reserve after hurting his knee Thursday night against Green Bay. Moeaki caught 47 passes for 556 yards and three touchdowns last season . . . Former Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson had his contract terminated by the Dolphins after signing last week. Miami also cut ties with cornerback Will Allen, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, and fullback Lousaka Polite, who started 24 games over the past three seasons . . . Chris Ivory, who led the Saints in rushing last year, was placed on the physically unable to perform list. He has yet to recover from offseason foot surgery or sports hernia surgery . . . The Cowboys’ kicking situation got a little less complicated. Dallas released veterans Shayne Graham and Dave Rayner, and kept kickoff specialist David Buehler and Dan Bailey . . . The Chargers added a veteran linebacker to their 3-4 defensive scheme, signing Na’il Diggs, who has made 139 NFL starts . . . Nick Harris is out as the Lions’ punter, replaced by undrafted rookie Ryan Donahue . . . Wide receivers Donnie Avery and Mardy Gilyard were among those dropped by the Rams . . . . . . While Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon remained hospitalized in Florida after suffering a stroke, his brother, Dewey, told the Tampa Tribune that he is showing signs of improvement.

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