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Mitchell, Russell Among Roster Cuts

Veteran middle linebacker Kevin Mitchell was among 14 players released Monday by the Redskins. Mitchell, who originally signed with the Redskins in February 2000, was second on the roster with the longest consecutive tenure, behind only right tackle Jon Jansen.

Also released on Monday were:

  • Cliff Russell, WR
  • Jonathan Brewer, WR
  • Scott Cloman, WR
  • John Standeford, WR
  • Nic Clemons, DE
  • Greg White, DE
  • Norman Heuer, DT
  • Billy Strother, LB
  • Devin Lemons, LB
  • Dwayne Morgan, OL
  • Michael Hall, CB
  • Kevin Stemke, P

NFL rules stipulate that all NFL clubs must cut their roster down to 65 players by 4:00 pm ET, August 31. The Redskins have 11 roster exemptions, due to player participation in 2004 NFL Europe, meaning the team can keep 76 players on the roster as of Tuesday's deadline.

With today's announcement, the Redskins have 77 players on the active roster. One more player will be released before Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Mitchell was the biggest name among the first round of cuts.

"I talked to Kevin personally myself and I think he means a lot to everyone in the organization," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "It was tough to do--he's a terrific person and he's played a long time. I told him that if we do something now, he's got a chance to maybe get picked up this week."

In 10 NFL seasons, Mitchell has played with three different teams, starting 28 games and appearing in 144. He has posted 300 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He began his career as a second-round selection (53rd overall) by San Francisco in 1993 and player with the 49ers for four seasons. He played two seasons with New Orleans before joining Washington.

Mitchell played mostly as a reserve and special teams contributor in his tenure in Washington. He had his most productive season as a pro when he started 13 games for the Redskins in 2001 and posted 82 stops with two sacks.

A year later, when Jeremiah Trotter went down with a season-ending knee injury, Mitchell stepped in and started three games.

The other notable names on the list of roster cuts were Russell, a former third-round draft pick in 2002, and Cloman, who spent the entire 2003 season on the Redskins practice squad.

Russell struggled through injuries in his two-plus years in Washington. He suffered a season-ending knee injury during training camp of his rookie year. This preseason, he missed time due to a hamstring injury.

Plenty of evaluation went into deciding which players stayed and which players were released, Gibbs said.

"You see them play so many plays in practice and then the game is an added verification," Gibbs said. "It's not one play or game. It is what they do total around here. How much were they here in the offseason, what's the injury factor, and how did they do in the weight program?

"It's a total context of a person. After a while you get a thumbnail sketch and start developing what we have. We are looking for that smart, tough guy who will line up every down and who has real ability."

All NFL clubs must pare down their rosters to 53 by 4 p.m. ET, Sept. 5. Thereafter, teams may sign a practice squad of eight players on Sept. 6, after 12 p.m. ET.

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