NFL Roster Cuts: Released Veterans We Won't See on a Roster in 2012
There is less than one week remaining before the 2012 regular season kicks off on Sept. 5, and for NFL teams, that means just one thing: cut season.
Every year the end of August is riddled with countless players getting pink slips and seeing their professional dreams fall by the wayside.
And though most of these players were fringe guys who were just hoping to sneak on a roster, some big-name guys were sent packing as well.
While NFL rosters are always in a state of flux and some released players will get another opportunity, some careers ended this week in the most unceremonious way possible.
With that in mind, here's a look at some of the most noteworthy veterans released that won't get a second chance in 2012.
Vernon Gholston (DE/OLB, St. Louis Rams)
After being cut late in the preseason in 2011 by the Chicago Bears, Gholston is likely finished in the NFL after the St. Louis Rams let the the former Ohio State star go Friday, just nine days after signing him on Aug. 22.
The sixth overall pick if the 2008 draft by the New York Jets, Gholston could never harness his other-worldly physical gifts and become a productive NFL player. The 26-year-old vacillated between linebacker and defensive end through his short career, but couldn't excel at either position.
Gholston totaled just 42 tackles as an NFL player and never registered a sack, making him one likely the biggest bust of the 2000s.
Unless a defensive guru sees something salvageable, the third time will be the final nail in Gholston's NFL coffin.
Alphonso Smith (CB, Detroit Lions)
Another highly-touted prospect with unlimited potential, Smith's days in the NFL are also likely done after being cut by Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.
A second-round pick in 2009 by the Denver Broncos, Smith was a two-time All-American at Wake Forest and many considered him a huge steal on draft night. However, the collegiate talent just never fully surfaced in the pros.
The Broncos gave up on him after one season, trading him to the Lions in 2010. After showing flashes of brilliance that season and leading the Lions with five interceptions, Smith regressed last season and struggled throughout camp.
While his eight interceptions over the past two seasons look nice on paper, Smith is a risk-taker that often leaves his defense hanging out to dry. At 26, he'll probably get a look from some corner-needy teams.
Regardless, if he can't find a roster spot on the Lions' motley crew of secondary talent, it's unlikely he'll stick elsewhere.
Terrell Owens (WR, Seattle Seahawks)
Despite flashing 4.5 speed on his 40-yard dash and coming into Seahawks training camp in impeccable condition, Seattle released the 38-year-old receiver in the first round of cuts last Sunday.
Always controversial but never dull, the former All-Pro was the consummate professional with the Seahawks and drew praise from head coach Pete Carroll.
Anybody that thinks he had an attitude around here or something like that got in the way is wrong. They don't know what they're talking about. This guy was great. He did everything we wanted him to do. He practiced hard, he studied hard, he asked questions, he worked hard in the games. He did everything. He was terrific.
Carroll's praise about Owens' professionalism and attitude could mean the diva wide receiver has finally matured. Nevertheless, the fact he didn't make the team means it was finally his lack of talent instead of his character that was the deciding factor.
And for Owens, who got a cavalcade of chances despite questionable behavior, that should be the death knell for his brilliant NFL career.
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