William Andrews, the Atlanta Falcons' all-time leading rusher, announced his retirement Monday, a year after coming back from a serious knee injury that caused him to miss two seasons.
Andrews was one of a number of veterans to go as National Football League teams began their first mandatory cuts of the season to get down to the roster limit of 60 by this afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys acquired kicker Rolf Benirschke from the San Diego Chargers for an undisclosed draft choice.
Benirschke, 32, a 10-year veteran ranked as the third most accurate kicker in NFL history, is the Chargers' all-time scoring leader with 15 club kicking records.
Cowboy spokesman Doug Todd said Benirschke will join the team as soon as possible. With the roster addition, the Cowboys have to cut 18 players by this afternoon to get down to the 60-player limit.
Among the players cut Monday were veteran quarterback David Woodley, a one-time Super Bowl starter attempting a comeback with the Green Bay Packers after a year in retirement; wide receiver Anthony Hancock, the Kansas City Chiefs' first-round draft choice in 1982; wide receiver Steve Kreider, an eight-year veteran with the Cincinnati Bengals, and veteran tight end Joe Rose of Miami.
Pittsburgh cut linebacker Dennis (Dirt) Winston, an 11-year veteran who began his career with the Steelers, spent five years in New Orleans, then returned to the Steelers. The Steelers also waived Eric Williams, a five-year veteran who started at free safety the past three seasons.
And the Buffalo Bills acquired wide receiver Trumaine Johnson from the San Diego Chargers in exchange for rookie linebacker David Brandon, a third-round pick this year. Johnson, a former United States Football League star, caught 30 passes for 390 yards and a touchdown for the Chargers last season.
The 31-year-old Andrews, who began his career with the Falcons as a third-round draft choice in 1979, was one of the league's most versatile backs. In the six full seasons he played, he had 5,986 yards rushing, 2,645 yards receiving and 41 touchdowns.
But a severe knee injury kept him out in 1984 and 1985, and he saw only limited duty last year, rushing for 214 yards in 62 carries and catching 5 passes for 35 yards.
"I fulfilled everything I wanted to do in the game, except longevity, which was just not a part of it," Andrews said.
"He epitomizes what a man should be in any sport," Coach Marion Campbell said. "He was a special person."
Woodley, who started for the Miami Dolphins when they went to the Super Bowl in 1982, quit last year after losing a battle for Pittsburgh's starting quarterback job. He re-signed this year with the Packers.
Kreider spent all eight of his NFL seasons with the Bengals and played with them in the 1981 Super Bowl. Last year, he caught 5 passes for 96 yards and had career totals of 150 catches, 2,119 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Hancock missed most of last season with a knee injuries and was been bothered by nagging injuries ever since being drafted by the Chiefs from Tennessee. His best season was 1983, when he caught 37 passes for 584 yards with 1 touchdown.
Rose started only one game in his six seasons with the Dolphins, but was a third-down receiver who caught 130 passes for 1,753 yards in his career. Coach Don Shula said Rose, who missed all of last season with a thigh injury, came into his office Monday morning and asked Shula to cut him this week if the team didn't have any plans for him this year.