A number of notable NFL stars have already fallen victim to challenging preseasons this summer, and there is still one week left to play out.
Veteran wide receiver Terrell Owens leads a trio of recently cut players who either proved they belonged last season, or have built an impressive legacy on the gridiron.
Here we analyze the notable victims of the NFL preseason's first cuts.
The former Baltimore Ravens place kicker made six 50-plus-yard field goals last regular season, but it was likely the 32-yard field goal he missed in the waning seconds of the Ravens' AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots that cost Cundiff his job.
Cundiff was cut by the Ravens this past weekend, according to The Associated Press via ESPN.com.
Undrafted rookie Justin Tucker won the job this preseason, according to NFL.com writer Brian McIntyre. Still, as a Baltimore native and someone who witnessed first hand the backlash from Cundiff's unthinkable miss last winter, it's hard to say that Cundiff could have done anything to remain a Raven in 2012.
He proved to be anything but a clutch performer, and the Ravens can ill afford to come up short again at the fault of a kicker. Cundiff wasn't a game-winning kicker so much as he was a valuable player on kickoffs thanks to his strong leg. He won't be missed in Baltimore, I can assure you.
There was a time when Terrell Owens was a dominant force in football, but that time has passed. Owens showcased a fading skill set during the preseason with the Seattle Seahawks, highlighted by a terrible dropped touchdown against the Denver Broncos.
As a result of his poor tryout he was released. He tweeted the news Sunday morning:
I'm no longer a Seahawk. I THANK the organization 4 the opportunity, I'm truly blessed beyond belief. My FAITH is intact & will NOT waiver.— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) August 26, 2012
Owens will turn 39 in December, and simply has nothing left to offer a contending NFL team. He is prone to drops and lacks the separating speed that made him such a threat throughout the prime of his career. It's safe to say the early end to 2012 for Owens was inevitable.
The second-year safety out of William & Mary played in all 16 games for the Indianapolis Colts last season, but was cut by the team this summer, according to FoxNews.com. Caldwell recorded 67 tackles, including 41 solo tackles. The 25-year-old also defended four passes for the 2-14 squad a year ago.
Caldwell didn't come out of a big-time college, but he still proved to be a dependable option at safety for the Colts last season. Although Indy was pitiful against the run, they still ranked 15th in the league defending the pass. Caldwell isn't an egregious cut, but a surprising one nonetheless.
Unlike Owens, there is hope for Caldwell. He is young and experienced in the NFL. His production last season has likely caught the attention of a few teams and could earn him a few looks this fall. Considering he was able to hold his own at football's highest level in 2011, I expect him to make a roster in the near future.
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