ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders released running back Justin Fargas on Saturday, cutting ties with one of their key offensive players over the last few seasons.
"Justin Fargas was a beloved Raider who performed at a high level throughout his seven seasons with the team and his contributions to the Silver and Black will always be remembered," the team said in a statement announcing the move. "We wish Justin all the best."
The team said Fargas failed a physical. Fargas was owed a $1.7 million bonus if he was still on the roster Monday, and the Raiders were looking to give more of the running load to Darren McFadden and Michael Bush.
Fargas was a favorite of Raiders coach Tom Cable, who often praised Fargas' strong work ethic and team-first attitude. Fargas never shied away from contact and often bounced up after big hits. He joined the team in 2003 and has been part of the worst run in franchise history as Oakland has lost at least 11 games in all seven of his seasons.
The decision to cut ties with Fargas clears the way for McFadden and Bush to receive more consistent playing time next season. The Raiders shared the carries with three backs the past two seasons, making it difficult for any one running back to find a rhythm.
McFadden has failed to develop into the game-breaking star the Raiders expected when they drafted him fourth overall in 2008. McFadden has been slowed by injuries to his toes, knee and shoulder in his first two years, running for just 856 yards and five touchdowns.
Bush led the team in rushing last season with 589 yards and three touchdowns.
Fargas was second on the team in rushing with 491 yards and three touchdowns, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. He had led the team in rushing the previous three seasons, with his best year coming in 2007 when he gained 1,009 yards on the ground and scored four touchdowns.
Fargas has run for 3,369 yards in seven seasons. He has averaged 4.1 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press