Vet Darius released by third team in four months

For the third time in four months, safety Donovin Darius has been released by an NFL team, and Tuesday's sudden move by the Miami Dolphins to jettison him could possibly end the career of the 10th-year veteran.

Darius appeared in three games with the Dolphins, starting in two of them. He registered 13 tackles, no interceptions and no passes defensed. Miami signed him when their secondary was beset by a series of injuries.

The leading tackler in Jacksonville franchise history, Darius was surprisingly released by the Jaguars in June. The last two releases, by the Oakland Raiders at the end of the preseason and by Miami on Tuesday, were less stunning, given that Darius had not played particularly well and had been slowed by a lingering calf injury.

Given the nagging calf problem and the fact that Darius entered 2007 having suffered serious injuries in each of the past two seasons, it might be difficult for him to find work with another club, even with his impressive career resume. And certainly age figures to be a factor as well for the 31-year-old Darius.

Darius sustained a broken right ankle that limited him to 10 games in 2006. That kept him from participating in the Jaguars' offseason program early in the spring. Jacksonville then terminated his contract in June, deciding to go with younger safeties, including first-round draft pick Reggie Nelson.

In 2005, Darius played in only two games before his season was ended by a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The fact he appeared in a total of 12 games the past two seasons and suffered fairly significant injuries didn't seem to dissuade some teams in need of safety help from considering him early in the summer.

He signed a three-year contract with a maximum value of $7 million in Oakland, after having discussed offers from other teams and having visited with the Buffalo Bills. But it was obvious in camp and the preseason that Darius was not nearly as effective as he had been earlier in his career.

A first-round choice in the 1998 draft, Darius became an immediate starter with the Jaguars. The former Syracuse star appeared in 115 games in Jacksonville, all starts, and had a franchise-record 846 tackles, along with two sacks, 14 interceptions, 35 passes defensed, eight forced fumbles and six recoveries.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com