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Armstead, B. Smith Released

The Redskins have released defensive end Bruce Smith and linebacker Jessie Armstead, as the team sets out to rework a defensive unit that finished 25th in the NFL last season.

In addition, defensive tackle Lional Dalton and punter Bryan Barker have also been released, the team announced on Tuesday.

Smith announced near the end of last season that he would "most likely" retire after what will certainly be a Hall of Fame career. He reiterated those comments last week in an interview on the NFL Network.

Smith, 40, signed with the Redskins in 2000 after 15 years and four Super Bowl appearances with the Buffalo Bills. In four seasons with the Redskins, he started 54 games and registered 29 sacks.

Last year, Smith broke Reggie White's all-time sack record when he sacked New York Giants' quarterback Jesse Palmer on Dec. 7. It was Smith's 199th career sack. Two weeks later, he sacked Chicago's Rex Grossman for his 200th career sack.

The release of Smith and Armstead also signifies the team's intention to get younger on defense, something that Gregg Williams, assistant head coach for the defense, mentioned during a media session two weeks ago.

Armstead, 33, played two seasons with the Redskins after nine years with the New York Giants. The five-time Pro Bowler had a solid year in 2003, recording 99 tackles, a team-high 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Barker, 39, played the last three seasons with the Redskins. Last year, he averaged 40.2 yards per punt and became the 13th punter in NFL history to record 1,000 career punts.

Earlier in the offseason, the Redskins signed a pair of young punters in David Leaverton and Kevin Stemke to compete for next season's punting job. Other punters still may be brought in to compete for the job.

Dalton came to Washington last August as part of a trade with the Denver Broncos. He ended up starting nine games and recording 17 tackles and one sack.

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