A salary-cap purge for the Los Angeles Rams started with the release of veterans James Laurinaitis, Chris Long and Jared Cook. The moves will save $24.375 million in salary-cap space for this year, according to NFL Media.
LOS ANGELES – A salary-cap purge for the Los Angeles Rams started with the release of veterans James Laurinaitis, Chris Long and Jared Cook on Friday.
The moves will save $24.375 million in salary-cap space for this year, according to NFL Media. The Rams — previously based in St. Louis — parted with two mainstays in linebacker Laurinaitis and defensive end Long.
Laurinaitis has been one of the league’s leading tacklers throughout his seven-year pro career. Long, the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, has been one of the Rams’ top pass rushers.
“This is the time of year when all NFL teams are faced with difficult decisions regarding their veteran players,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said.
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“Chris and James are the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league, and it’s been an honor to coach them both. They’ve been the pillars of our defense for many years, and not enough can be said of their love for the game and for their teammates. Beyond the field, they took pride in mentoring the younger players and doing their part to make a real difference in the St. Louis community.”
Laurinaitis, 29, led the Rams in tackles in each of his first four seasons, and made at least 100 tackles in each of his seven seasons in St. Louis.
Long, 30, was the second player taken in the 2008 draft. He started 95 of 114 games and led the team in sacks in 2011 and 2012; his performance declined in recent seasons.
Cook, 28, joined the Rams as a free agent before the 2013 season and set franchise records for most receiving yards by a tight end in a season (671 in 2013).
Long posted a message to his Instagram page, thanking fans and adding: “Bottom line is, this is a production business. No excuses, the last two years have been (bleep). It’s been painful to experience because I care deeply about my performance and my responsibility to my teammates. Before the last two years I’m very proud of what I was able to accomplish in St. Louis. I’m not surprised, but it doesn’t make it any easier to leave your family.”
• Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller, 33, retired after 11 seasons.
Miller had 592 career receptions, 6,569 yards receiving and 45 touchdowns, all franchise records for a tight end. The two-time Pro Bowler’s reception total ranks No. 6 by a tight end in league history.
“I will always cherish and value the special bonds that I formed with my teammates,” Miller wrote in his retirement statement. “It was truly an honor for me to take the field with them.”
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger often called Miller the best teammate he had at any level of football.
• Players receiving suspensions for violating league policies against performance-enhancing drugs or substance abuse: Baltimore tight end Nick Boyle (10 games), Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory (four games) and Green Bay defensive tackle Mike Pennel (four games).
• Philadelphia’s top prosecutor said he won’t rush his decision on whether to charge Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy over a nightclub fight.
District Attorney Seth Williams is feeling heat from the city’s police union because two off-duty officers were injured in the Feb. 7 brawl. He said his goal “is to get it right, not get it fast.”
Investigators say the fight started after a dispute over which group purchased a $350 bottle of champagne at the after-hours club.