Four veteran quarterbacks were among the players cut Monday, while another was sidelined by a fractured ankle as National Football League teams reduced their rosters to the regular-season 45-player limit.
Jim Zorn, Jack Thompson, Bob Avellini and Joe Pisarcik were dropped as teams prepared for Sunday’s openers. Houston’s Oliver Luck suffered “a slight fracture” of his left ankle, leaving the Oilers with only starter Warren Moon available for the opener.
Zorn, an original member of the club, was released by the Seattle Seahawks. Thompson, known as the Throwin’ Samoan during his college days at Washington State, was waived by Tampa Bay. Avellini was dropped by the New York Jets, and Pisarcik was cut by the Miami Dolphins.
Other veterans who did not survive their teams’ final cuts included running back Ron Springs and wide receiver Duriel Harris of the Dallas Cowboys, placekicker Bob Thomas of the Chicago Bears, safety Beasley Reece of Tampa Bay, nose tackle Ken Kremer of Kansas City, linebacker Dan Bunz of the Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers and running back Mike Pruitt of the Cleveland Browns.
San Diego reached the 45-man limit by trading running back Earnest Jackson to the Philadelphia Eagles for an undisclosed number of draft choices.
Jackson led the American Football Conference with 1,179 rushing yards last season and gives the Eagles a replacement for Wilbert Montgomery, who had been traded earlier to the Detroit Lions.
The Jackson move fueled speculation that the Chargers might be able to sign running back Gary Anderson, a first-round 1983 draft choice who has been playing in the rival United States Football League.
Wide receiver Mike Quick ended his holdout and reported to the Eagles. Quick said he agreed to report after General Manager Harry Gamble restructured his four-year contract. Quick is a two-time all-pro who caught 130 passes for 2,461 yards in the last two seasons.
Thompson was Cincinnati’s No. 1 draft pick in 1979 and was traded to Tampa Bay in 1983 for the Buccaneers’ No. 1 choice last season. He started 13 games, throwing for 2,906 yards and 18 touchdowns in 1983 before being relegated to backup duty behind DeBerg last year.
Zorn joined the expansion Seahawks as a free agent in 1976 and started 100 games in nine seasons. He passed for 20,122 yards and 107 touchdowns.
Avellini, a 10-year veteran, came to the Jets as a reserve last season after spending his entire career with the Chicago Bears. His best season with Chicago was 1977, when he passed for 2,004 yards.
Pisarcik joined the Dolphins after being released by Philadelphia but became expendable when Miami’s starting quarterback, Dan Marino, ended his holdout.
Pruitt, 31, was Cleveland’s No. 3 all-time rusher, gaining 6,540 yards, an average of 4.1 per carry for nine seasons. Only Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly rushed for more yards for Cleveland. Arthroscopic knee surgery limited him to 506 yards in 163 carries last year.
Washington traded rookie cornerback Tory Nixon, a second-round draft choice, to San Francisco, and swapped veteran linebacker Larry Kubin to Buffalo, receiving undisclosed draft choices for both players.