CINCINNATI -- Running back Chris Perry was released Monday by the Cincinnati Bengals, who also were prepared to cut ties with offensive tackle Levi Jones, another former first-round pick.
Perry was the 26th overall pick out of Michigan in 2004, when the Bengals envisioned him as their running back for years to come. Instead, he started only three games in the next four seasons, spending a lot of time recovering from a hernia, a hamstring injury, knee and ankle problems and a broken lower leg.
Finally healthy, he got the starting job last season but struggled and was replaced by Cedric Benson. Perry gained 269 yards on 104 carries last season, a 2.6-yard average. His release was anticipated after the Bengals gave Benson a contract extension in the offseason.
The Bengals also are planning to get rid of Jones, who was the 10th overall pick in the 2002 draft but has been bothered by knee and leg problems in recent seasons. He started the first 10 games last season at left tackle before getting hurt.
Jones got a six-year extension before the 2006 season, which was the last on his previous contract. He was paid $21 million over the first three years of the deal. His agent, Ken Zuckerman, said in a phone interview on Monday night that the team informed him last month that Jones would be gone.
"They told me they plan to trade Levi or release him by the draft," Zuckerman said. "You can't get enough tackles. We were shocked."
The Bengals took tackle Andre Smith from Alabama with the sixth overall pick on Saturday, helping to fill their biggest need. They released right tackle Willie Anderson in the final cut before the start of last season, and lost right tackle Stacy Andrews in the offseason when he signed with Philadelphia.
The offensive line was a big problem last season, when quarterback Carson Palmer was hit often and the offense finished last in the league. Palmer had a broken nose, sprained ankle and torn tendon and ligament in his passing elbow, causing him to miss a dozen games.
Also on Monday, the Bengals terminated the contracts of safety Mike Doss and tight end Nate Lawrie, and waived linebacker Eric Henderson and running back Gary Russell.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press