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TheDeuce 06-05-2005 06:16 PM

Bye bye Ruff
Saints to release linebacker Ruff
Veteran expected to be only salary-cap cut by team right now
Thursday, June 02, 2005
By Mike Triplett
Staff writer
Linebacker Orlando Ruff is the only veteran the Saints plan to release now that the June 1 deadline has passed.

Beginning today, NFL teams can release players and spread the salary-cap hit over two seasons. That's why several big names such as Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, Kansas City Chiefs receiver Johnnie Morton and St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Kyle Turley, a former Saint, are expected to hit the free-agent market today.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and Coach Jim Haslett said the team is not planning to release any more veterans at this point, at least until the roster takes shape closer to the season.

Ruff's situation is unrelated to the June 1 deadline because he is in the final year of his contract. He recently asked the team to be released. A six-year veteran, he had fallen on the Saints' depth chart and wants more playing time elsewhere.

Haslett and Ruff's agent, Kennard McGuire, said the release was a mutual decision and that it was amicable. The move is expected to become official in the coming days.

Ruff, who had played with the San Diego Chargers, started 17 games in his two years with the Saints after signing as a free agent in 2003. He lost his starting job to rookie Courtney Watson last season, and this year the Saints drafted middle linebacker Alfred Fincher from Connecticut in the third round.

"He thought he would have a better chance of playing somewhere else, and we wanted to get a look at Alfred," Haslett said. "And we've got (fourth-year linebacker) Roger Knight, who can play that position, and a couple other guys."

The Saints will save $1.1 million off their salary cap, the amount Ruff was scheduled to make this season. He will count $175,000 against the cap (one-third of his signing bonus, plus this year's workout bonus).

HAKIM'S VISIT: Free-agent receiver Az-Zahir Hakim watched some of the Saints' practice Wednesday, the second day of his visit to New Orleans.

Haslett said the Saints like what Hakim, a seven-year veteran, has to offer, and he believes Hakim liked what he saw from the Saints. Loomis said there was no news in the way of contract discussions Wednesday night.

FireVenturi 06-05-2005 06:27 PM

oh well, no sweat!

AllSaints 06-06-2005 09:39 AM

Kyle Turley hmmmmm.....

turbo_dog 06-09-2005 11:24 PM

Is Darrin Smith still around? He'd be a better back up than Ruff. I wonder who will take a chance on him...

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