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McCants, Newberry Among Roster Cuts

Wide receiver Darnerien McCants, rookie linebacker Jared Newberry and tight end Billy Baber were among 13 players released by the Redskins on Monday.

The complete list of roster cuts is as follows:

  • Billy Baber, TE
  • Charles Byrd, DB
  • Jeff Chandler, K
  • Jonathan Combs, RB
  • Brock Forsey, RB
  • Steven Harris, WR
  • Charles Howard, DL
  • Darnerien McCants, WR
  • Jared Newberry, LB
  • Jerome Nichols, DL
  • Clifton Smith, LB
  • Bryson Spinner, QB
  • Josh Warner, OL

The team now has 73 players on the roster, with eight spots used for NFL Europe roster exemptions.

McCants was the most notable cut by the Redskins. A local product from Gambrills, Md., in Anne Arundel County, McCants was the Redskins' fifth-round draft choice (154th overall) in 2001.

McCants began to establish himself in the 2002-03 seasons under then-head coach Steve Spurrier, recording 48 catches for 616 yards and eight touchdowns. He was particularly effective in the red zone, thanks to his 6-3, 214-pound frame.

When Joe Gibbs returned in 2004, the team immediately signed McCants to a contract extension. But McCants never seemed to mesh with Gibbs' offensive system. Since he did not play on special teams, he found himself deactivated on game day most of the season.

This preseason, McCants caught three passes for 29 yards in three games. In recent media reports, McCants expressed his frustration at not receiving the kind of playing time he would prefer.

Probably the biggest surprise of Monday's cuts was the release of Newberry, a 6-1, 238-pound linebacker out of Stanford. The Redskins drafted Newberry in the sixth round (183rd overall) in last April's NFL Draft.

Both Newberry and Clifton Smith, another roster cut, were caught in a numbers game at linebacker. Brandon Barnes and Khary Campbell are solid special teams players and Zak Keasey, a rookie out of Princeton, has impressed coaches with his hustle in training camp and preseason.

If Newberry does not catch on with another team, he might be a candidate for the Redskins' eight-member practice squad. That unit is typically announced after the final league-mandated roster cuts, slated for Saturday, Sept. 1.

Baber's release was a mild surprise because he was listed as the backup at tight end as early as last week. The return of 11-year veteran Brian Kozlowski and the emergence of newcomer Robert Johnson as a backup to Robert Royal did not help Baber's cause. Also, H-backs Mike Sellers can play the tight end position.

The release of Chandler solidifies the 2005 kicking duties for John Hall. Chandler was expected to challenge Hall this preseason, but he was 0-for-1 on field goal attempts, while Hall was perfect on three attempts.

Hall is coming off of an injury-plagued 2004 season in which he played in just eight games.

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