Thursday, March 01, 2007

NFL cut day marked by a surprising addition

The day before free agency begins and roster bonuses kick in the National Football league brought out the sharp edged implement, went out to the gridiron and did some chopping.

When the dust settled no fewer than four big name vets were told they were free to sign with another team, some surprising (Pittsburgh LB Joey Porter), others not so (Dallas QB Drew Bledsoe.)

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all came here in Tampa, and I'm not talking about the Bucs releasing Kenyatta False Start Walker, a move that was at least two seasons overdue.

No, the shockwaves of surprise rippled throughout the Bay area when the team announced the A-Train will be rumbling through Ray Jay for at least one more season. Long thought to be a goner due to Alstott's less-than-chummy relationship with Chucky Gruden (as we know, you're either one of Chucky's boys or you're not, and Alstott, for whatever reason, has NEVER been one of Chucky's boys) and the decline in production from the bruising fullback, the Bucs announced that Alstott would suit up for one more season, his 12th in a Buccaneer uni.

The A-Train has never been afraid to run over obstacles in its path

Despite declining numbers, advancing age and a frosty coach-player relationship, the resigning of one of the all-time fan favorites was really a no-brainer. He is only going to make about a million and a half, and his value as a blocker and short yardage/goal line specialist only increases as his playing time decreases, saving wear and tear on his already damaged body.

Three toots on the commemorative train whistle for the return of the A-Train.

Other players aren't doing much celebrating today, though, and the list is dotted with guys who were stars on their respective teams just a season or two ago:

-Steelers LB Joey Porter
-Cowboys QB Drew Bledsoe
-Saints WR Joe Horn
-Vikes CB Fred Smoot
-Vikes QB Brad Johnson (Wed)
-49ers WR Antonio Bryant
-Chargers LB Steve Foley
-Chargers WR Keenan McCardell
-Colts WR Brandon Stokley
-Ravens RB Jamal Lewis

Throw in the release of Philly QB Jeff Garcia and you've got a pretty decent caliber of players out there for the taking; old, overpaid with an overinflated sense of self (ahem, Drew) players, yet most of these guys will find new homes quickly. For others it could be the end of the line (ahem, ahem Drew.)

More fun tomorrow when the free agency feeding frenzy officially gets under way.

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