Dallas Cowboys  

 

Cowboys part with DL Olshansky, FB Gronkowski, two kickers

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Demoted defensive lineman Igor Olshansky, starting fullback Chris Gronkowski and veteran kickers Shayne Graham and Dave Rayner were among the players the Dallas Cowboys released Saturday to get their roster down to the NFL-mandated 53-player limit.

The departure of the experienced legs means the Cowboys are sticking with David Buehler and Dan Bailey. Buehler almost certainly will handle kickoffs, with Bailey kicking field goals. Bailey was named the top kicker in college football last season, but he wasn't drafted.

Olshansky joined the Cowboys in 2008 to be reunited with Wade Phillips, who had been his defensive coordinator in San Diego. Between Phillips being fired midway through last season and the team signing Kenyon Coleman -- who spent the last two seasons in Cleveland playing for the Cowboys' new coordinator, Rob Ryan -- Olshansky's release wasn't a surprise.

"Last year was rough because of the coaching change," Olshansky told The Dallas Morning News, adding that his future is unclear.

"Things are up in the air," he said. "I don't know what is going to happen or what the best opportunity is going to be for me. But something will work out."

The move also saves Dallas more than $3.3 million against the salary cap.

"It was kind of in the making," Olshansky said. "It was a numbers thing more than anything. They had signed three linemen and had five ends for four spots."

Gronkowski, who has two brothers playing in the NFL, made the team as an undrafted rookie last season. His tenure will best be remembered for a missed block that led to quarterback Tony Romo breaking his collarbone.

Gronkowski becomes the sixth offensive starter from last season to be released under new coach Jason Garrett, who had been the offensive coordinator the last four seasons.

Also dumped were fifth-round pick Josh Thomas, a cornerback, and seventh-rounder Shaun Chapas, a fullback; last year's fourth-rounder, safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah; and two members of the 2009 draft class, linebacker Brandon Williams, a fourth-rounder, and wide receiver Manny Johnson, a seventh-rounder.

Owusu-Ansah played with the first team at the start of training camp, but he failed to make the most of his opportunity. Ditto for Lonyae Miller, who received extra work because of injuries to the two running backs ahead of him. Phillip Tanner beat him out for the No. 4 spot behind Felix Jones, Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray.

The Cowboys didn't keep any fullbacks. In addition to Gronkowski and Chapas, they let go of Jason Pociask and Isaiah Greenhouse.

Another thin position is inside linebacker. Dallas stuck with just Bradie James, Keith Brooking and Sean Lee, dropping Kenwin Cummings and Orie Lemon.

Undrafted rookie Alex Albright beat out Williams for an outside linebacker job.

Dallas also put receiver Raymond Radway on season-ending injured reserve. Radway, an undrafted rookie, broke his leg on the final play of the final preseason game after having earned a roster spot.

Wide receiver Teddy Williams, a star college sprinter who hadn't played football since high school until joining the Cowboys last season, was dropped. He missed most of camp with an injury caused when he ran into receivers coach Jimmy Robinson in one of the first drills of camp.

Other cuts included safeties Andrew Sendejo and Collin Zych; wide receivers Lyle Leong and Tysson Poots; cornerbacks Mario Butler and Chris Randle; linebacker Mike Balogun; defensive end Jimmy Sadler-McQueen; guard Pepa Letuli; quarterback Tom Brandstater and punter Chris Jones.

The roster is certain to be in flux, with the Cowboys looking for players cut by other teams who could be an upgrade. They also have eight practice-squad spots to fill.

The Cowboys open the season a week from Sunday on the road against the New York Jets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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