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Veteran DT Harris, QB Orlovsky among Colts' final cuts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris hoped to revive his career with the Colts.

He didn't even make it to opening day.

Harris was one of 27 players waived by the Colts on Saturday as the team trimmed its roster to the NFL's mandated limit of 53.

"There was a tremendous amount of talent competing for spots on this team and that made our decisions challenging," Colts general manager Chris Polian said in a statement released by the team. "We respect and appreciate the effort that these players put forth throughout the course of training camp and the preseason. At the same time, we feel we've established a solid group of players who will compete at a high level for the Indianapolis Colts this season."

Harris made three consecutive Pro Bowls with the Chicago Bears from 2005 to 2007 and was a key cog in the team's Super Bowl run during the 2006 season. He was hindered by injuries the past three seasons and released by the Bears in February before the lockout.

The Colts believed a healthier Harris could bolster their run defense, so they signed the former first-round draft pick during the first week of training camp. But Harris didn't become the disruptive force in the middle that the team expected during the preseason.

The four other veteran free agents whom the Colts signed in August -- defensive linemen Jamaal Anderson and Tyler Braxton, quarterback Kerry Collins and linebacker Ernie Sims -- all made the roster. All are former first-round picks.

The Colts also released two of their eight draft picks from 2010 -- guard Jacques McClendon and defensive tackle Ricardo Mathews. A third defensive back, Ray Fisher, didn't make the team last year.

Taj Smith, the Colts' leading receiver during the preseason, was placed on the waived-injured list after wideout Blair White was activated from the physically unable to perform list. Undrafted rookie David Gilreath, who was competing for the kick and punt returner job, was waived, too.

"These days always carry mixed emotions and we had a lot of tough decisions to make because of the competition we witnessed during the preseason," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said in a statement. "With the moves we made, I feel this team is in a position to be highly successful and competitive over the course of the regular season."

The Colts kept three quarterbacks -- Peyton Manning, Collins and Curtis Painter -- and waived veteran Dan Orlovsky.

The other players released were punter Travis Baltz; receivers Chris Brooks, Larrone Moore and Marshall Williams; defensive linemen John Chick, John Gill and Ollie Ogbu; linebackers Chris Colasanti, Kerry Neal, Nate Triplett and Vuna Tuihalamaka; offensive linemen Kyle DeVan, Jake Kirkpatrick, Mike Tepper and Michael Toudouze; tight ends Tyson DeVree and Michael Matthews; defensive backs Michael Hamlin and Brandon King; and running back Javarris James. The Colts also activated wide receiver Blair White from the physically unable to perform list.

There was better news for other players who were waiting to learn their fate.

Painter hung onto his job after two bad preseason starts and a solid third game. The Colts kept the oft-injured Anthony Gonzalez, their 2007 first-round pick, and held on to two Indianapolis natives: running backs Darren Evans and Chad Spann.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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