Saints get a head start on their cuts

The first wave of cuts in the NFL, when teams trim from 80 players to 75, are not due until Tuesday.

The New Orleans Saints got what amounts to a one-week head start when they released five players, including reserve linebacker Troy Evans, who was the team’s special teams captain for the previous two seasons.

“Decisions like these are never easy to make,” general manager Mickey Loomis said in a statement released by the team. “Troy Evans was an instrumental part of the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV championship in 2009 and we are truly thankful for his hard work and dedication. We know that the fans of our team will be grateful for Troy's contributions and the way he contributed to our success both on and off the football field.”

It’s one of the cold realities in the NFL. Most teams turn over roughly the bottom third of their roster each season. They operate with the belief that they’re better off getting rid of a veteran player one year too soon than one year too late.

Also released by the Saints were wide receivers Mark Bradley and Rod Harper, cornerback Danny Gorrer and guard Tim Duckworth. The Saints are the third team to release Bradley since December. He was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs near the end of last season and had a short stint in the offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bradley was a second-round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2005, chosen 39th overall.

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