NFL

NFL teams begin releasing players to meet regular-season roster limit

The NFL’s official transactions report for Friday shows that 102 players have been cleared off the active rosters of the 32 teams — less than 10 percent of the number of players that will need to be released by 3 p.m. CDT Saturday to reach compliance with the league’s mandatory roster size.

Only three players with Alabama football roots were among those officially moved off active rosters on Friday. The New York Jets waived offensive tackles Antonio Garcia from Troy and Darius James from Auburn, and the Baltimore Ravens put cornerback Jaylen Hill from Jacksonville State on their physically-unable-to-perform list.

In addition, the Carolina Panthers announced after the league’s report was released that they’d waived offensive tackle Blaine Clausell from Baker High School, guard Quinterrius Eatmon from Vigor High School and cornerback LaDarius Gunter from Jeff Davis in Montgomery.

Media reports indicated that other players from the state were being let go, too. Houston media outlets reported the Houston Texans were parting ways with a pair of former Auburn standouts — wide receiver Quan Bray and fullback Jay Prosch, who prepped at UMS-Wright in Mobile — as well as cornerback Dee Virgin from West Alabama. Safety T.J. Green of Sylacauga High School tweeted he’d been released by the Indianapolis Colts.

Gunter is a veteran of 28 NFL regular-season games, including 15 starts for the Green Bay Packers in 2016 season.

The New England Patriots picked Garcia in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. But Garcia missed his rookie season because of what was reported as blood clots in the lungs. He was trying to rebound with the Jets after being released by New England on May 11.

James sought to earn a place on the Jets as an undrafted rookie.

Clausell and Eatmon have been chasing their NFL dreams since 2015 without completely breaking through. Clausell has been on the practice squads of the Panthers, Ravens, New England Patriots and Washington Redskins, and Eatmon has been with the Panthers and Oakland Raiders and played in the CFL.

Hill made the Ravens’ roster as an undrafted rookie last season, but a knee injury suffered last season has limited him. The PUP designation means he’ll be out of practice at least another six weeks.

NFL teams can have as many as 90 players on their rosters during the offseason and preseason. But that maximum will drop to 53 on Saturday afternoon.

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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.





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