Raiders cut QB Edwards, LB Williams
The Oakland Raiders have released backup quarterback Trent Edwards and longtime linebacker Sam Williams as they reduced their roster to the 53-man limit.
Among the other notable players cut Saturday were three defensive backs from last year's draft. Cornerbacks Walter McFadden and Jeremy Ware, and safety Stevie Brown were among the 26 players cut. Oakland also released former Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard a little over a week after he was brought in as a free agent.
The Raiders kept all eight of this year's draft picks on the active roster. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, taken in the supplemental draft last month, does not count against the roster until after serving his five-game suspension.
The Raiders currently have only two active quarterbacks in starter Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller, but could choose to sign a player cut by another team before the Sept. 12 opener at Denver.
Coach Hue Jackson talked to the media before the cuts were announced and was not available to discuss the team's rationale for the moves until Sunday.
Edwards was brought in during training camp and was expected to compete with Boller for the No. 2 spot. But he played only briefly in two of the exhibition games, struggling in a longer stint against New Orleans, and the Raiders decided to let him go.
Williams, a third-round pick out of Fresno State in 2003, was one of the longest-tenured Raiders and always seemed to find a way to make the team with his strong play on special teams. He did not practice the past week because of an undisclosed reason and was also released.
With All-Pro Nnamdi Asomugha gone in free agency, McFadden and Ware got a chance to compete for more playing time in training camp a year after being drafted in the fifth and seventh rounds, respectively.
But both players struggled in practice as well as games and were beaten out for roster spots by Joe Porter and rookies DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa.
Brown was a valuable special teams performer as a rookie last year and got time in passing situations as a free safety when starter Michael Huff moved into a slot coverage role. He was beaten out at safety by Jerome Boyd, a former practice squader brought back in March as a free agent.
Sheppard was cut a little more than a week after signing with the Raiders. He is a former Pro Bowler who has bounced around the past few seasons and was out of a job at the start of training camp.
He started two games last season for Minnesota before becoming a free agent. He started nine games for the New York Jets in 2009 and three for Philadelphia the previous season. He had been a starter for the Eagles before that, intercepting 14 passes between 2004-06.
The other players let go were receivers Shaun Bodiford, Chad Jackson and Eddie McGee; running backs Louis Rankin and Manase Tonga; linebackers Chris Francis, Bani Gbadyu and Jeremy Leman; tight end Kevin Brock; defensive backs Matt Giordano and Sterling Moore; offensive linemen Daniel Loper and Alex Parsons; defensive linemen Mason Brodine, Jamie Cumbie, Derrick Hill and DE Tommie Hill; and punter Glenn Pakulak.
Receiver Shawn Bayes, guard Roy Shuening and Ware were all waived-injured.