Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Saints cut DE Alex Brown
By Pat Yasinskas ESPN.com
The New Orleans Saints got rid of one veteran Tuesday, but added another.
The team officially announced the release of defensive end Alex Brown, who tweeted the news earlier in the day, and said that it had signed veteran kicker John Kasay.
Yasinskas: Jordan Rules?
The stunning news that Alex Brown has been cut by the Saints could bode well for the progress of rookie Cameron Jordan, ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas writes. Blog
Brown had been starting opposite Will Smith, who could serve a suspension for testing positive for a banned substance in 2008.
Payton, however, said the Saints tried not to allow uncertainty surrounding Smith to figure into their evaluation of Brown.
"We really tried not to because then we'd be making a decision predicated on a possible or not possible suspension," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "I would say to you honestly that that didn't come into play, because if it had come into play more, then we might have gone in a different direction."
The Saints drafted Cameron Jordan in the first round but he has seen limited reps in the preseason. New Orleans also signed former Detroit defensive end Turk McBride shortly after the NFL lockout ended.
"It was a hard decision. We spent a lot of time on it," Payton said. "It wasn't that we just drafted a young player at that position. I think you try to factor in all the practice snaps, all the game film and it was something that, after going through it all and also looking at the timing of it, there's still that opportunity within the next week that he'll have a chance to sign with someone else.
Brown, who started all 16 games for the Saints last season, wrote the following post on his Twitter page Tuesday:
"It saddens me to say that I have been released from the Saints because their a first class organization and I will miss it. Good luck to the guys and Who Dat Nation keep roaring... My family and I had a blast here.. Thanks."
The release of Brown comes with no salary-cap implications. He was scheduled to make $3 million in base salary and had no outstanding roster bonus pro-rations. His release clears up $3 million in cap space.
Brown had 39 tackles and two sacks for the Saints in 2010.
Brown played his first eight seasons in Chicago, but Bears coach Lovie Smith wouldn't comment on the possibility of Brown rejoining the Bears.
"Did Alex leave on a good note here? Yes," Smith said. "Alex Brown is a lifetime friend. I pull for him, was planning on pulling for him 15 games this season [the Bears face New Orleans in Week 2]. Again, that's a part of it. Don't know enough about it to respond to it. I try not to respond unless I have all of the facts.
"We've seen Alex. Alex has been here before. We like our guys we have right now. There's great competition with the guys we have on our roster right now."
Kasay's signing comes after New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley injured his hip in Sunday's preseason game with Oakland.
The severity of Hartley's injury is still unknown. But Kasay, who was released by Carolina just before the start of training camp, is an accurate place-kicker. Kasay, 41, made 86.2 percent of his field goals last season. Kasay has not handled kickoffs in recent years, but the Saints are fine in that area because punter Thomas Morstead can kick off.
"I am not as young as I use to be. I am not fooling anybody with that, but there have been a handful of guys who have done very well playing into their 40s," Kasay said, mentioning Morten Anderson, John Carney, Gary Anderson, Matt Stover and Jason Hanson. "It's a privilege to be able to play and to do the same thing I was doing as a kid. ... I can't run, I can't throw, I can't catch, I can't block and I can't tackle, and this is my 21st year in the NFL."
Pat Yasinskas covers the NFC South for ESPN.com. Information from ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.