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NFL

Big Names Could Be Looking for Work

June 01, 2002|SAM FARMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jamal Anderson, once one of the NFL's best running backs, could get his walking papers today.

Anderson, 29, who led the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl in 1998 by rushing for 1,846 yards and 14 touchdowns, has been hampered by knee problems the last few years and is considered expendable.

He heads the list of high-profile players likely to be released today as teams try to trim their payrolls to make room for new talent.

If a player is cut after June 1, only a portion of his pro-rated signing bonus counts against the next season's salary cap. That leaves more money to sign players.

Four once-elite receivers who could be looking for new teams are Detroit's Herman Moore, Jacksonville's Keenan McCardell, Kansas City's Derrick Alexander and Green Bay's Antonio Freeman.

Other potential cuts include linebackers Hardy Nickerson (Jacksonville), Mike Jones (Pittsburgh) and Andy Katzenmoyer (New England); and defensive linemen Orpheus Roye (Cleveland), Junior Bryant (San Francisco) and Marco Coleman (Washington).

"There probably will be a little less activity [on the free-agent market] this year," Oakland Raider executive Bruce Allen said.

Anderson's prospects with the Falcons grew dim this spring when the team signed Tampa Bay running back Warrick Dunn to a six-year, $28-million deal, then drafted Michigan State running back T.J. Duckett with the 18th pick.

The season after leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl, Anderson was sidelined because of torn ligaments in his right knee. He returned for the 2000 season and rushed for 1,024 yards and six touchdowns.

But he had more problems last fall, sitting out most of the season because of torn ligaments in his left knee.

Although Anderson agreed to take a pay cut to $2 million from $5 million this season, the Falcons have informed him he probably won't be back. Regardless, Anderson wants to keep playing and his agent believes he will not have trouble finding another team.

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