Now They Cut Them, Now They Don’t : Pro football: Some players won’t return after going on the waiver list, but many others simply are bookkeeping tools. Anderson won’t be back with Giants.
The careers of Ottis Anderson and some other NFL veterans might have ended on cutdown day Monday. But many were simply interrupted.
On the other hand, quarterback Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers appears headed to the injured-reserve list, the victim of the sore right elbow that has plagued him for a year. Steve Bono, one of Montana’s backups, said Montana didn’t want to go on injured reserve because he would then be prohibited by league rules from practicing with the team.
Anderson, the most valuable player of the Super Bowl two years ago and the eighth-leading rusher in NFL history, was cut by the New York Giants as NFL teams strove to reach the 47-player regular-season limit. But for many of those released, the cuts are no more than maneuvers that allow teams to put players on injured reserve after cutdown day.
They might be brought back after clearing waivers later this week, when the injured-reserve list is established. Or they might have been told that they will be brought back later, as has happened often in other years. In Anderson’s case, there are indications he will return to the Giants if he clears waivers.
It also works the other way.
Players, particularly rookies, who seemed to have made their teams on Monday may be cut Tuesday to make way for other players picked up off of waivers. Moreover, any player signed in the last two weeks has a two-week exemption, meaning more players will be cut later this week to make room for them.
Some teams didn’t even announce their cuts, and the Phoenix Cardinals waited until the last minute to tell the released players they were cut. In fact, so non-final were the cutdowns on “final cutdown day” that San Francisco waived Joe Prokop, leaving itself without a punter, and the San Diego Chargers left themselves with only three wide receivers.
But San Francisco has six candidates for injured reserve and its waived players could be back by mid-week. And the Chargers will either re-sign one of the receivers they cut or pick up someone cut by another team.
Along with Anderson, older players cut included guard Sean Farrell, wide receiver Stanley Morgan and linebacker Tim Lucas of the Denver Broncos; running back Johnny Hector and defensive tackle Bill Pickel of the New York Jets; utility player Harry Sydney of the 49ers; running back Albert Bentley of the Indianapolis Colts; safety Nesby Glasgow of Seattle, and running back Darrin Nelson of the Minnesota Vikings.
The Washington Redskins cut Alvin Walton, its starting strong safety for the last six years and leading tackler for four of them, and the 49ers cut half of last year’s starting secondary--Todd Bowles and Darryl Pollard. The Pittsburgh Steelers cut offensive lineman Tom Ricketts, its No. 1 pick in 1989.
Jeff Kemp of the Philadelphia Eagles was joined in the pool of temporarily unemployed veteran quarterbacks by Mike Tomczak, released by the Green Bay Packers; Erik Wilhelm, by the Cincinnati Bengals; Troy Taylor, by the Jets, Rick Stromm, by the Steelers, and Jeff Carlson, by the Giants. Tomczak’s release opened a roster spot for Ty Detmer, the 1990 Heisman Trophy winner, who made the Packers as a ninth-round draft pick.
Some teams used a new gimmick--the “injury settlement,” which allows teams to cut injured players by paying them, thus saving roster spots. Hector, who has a groin injury that will keep him sidelined for a month, reached such a settlement with the Jets. So did Giant linebacker Gary Reasons, a nine-year linebacker.
The settlements allow the teams to avoid paying players for a full season if they remain on injured reserve. It allows them, however, to re-sign the players after they recover, as the Jets hope to do with Hector, and it allows the players to sign with other teams as free agents after they have healed.