METAIRIE, La. The New Orleans Saints have trimmed 22 players from their active roster, with former Carolina Panthers kicker John Kasay let go.
The decision to drop Kasay, 42, means Garrett Hartley, a 2009-10 playoff star who spent last season on injured reserve with a right hip injury, will head into Week 1 of the regular season as the Saints place kicker again.
Kasay, who spent 16 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, was an outstanding fill-in for the Saints last year after Hartley was injured during the preseason. He made 28 of 34 field-goal attempts, all 63 extra-point attempts and finished with a career-high 147 points.
Travaris Cadet, an undrafted rookie running back out of Appalachian State, remains on the team, meaning the Saints have five running backs on the roster.
Backup quarterbacks were prominent among players cut around the league Friday.
Nine-year veteran Seneca Wallace was beaten out by Colt McCoy in Cleveland, Mike Kafka fell to rookie Nick Foles and journeyman Trent Edwards in Philadelphia, Brian Hoyer got axed in New England, the Vikings cut Sage Rosenfels and Josh McCown was released by Chicago.
Other veterans released as teams prepare for the regular season, which begins Wednesday night with Dallas at the New York Giants, included 2005 Super Bowl MVP receiver Deion Branch and center Dan Koppen in New England; Washington Redskins running back Tim Hightower; defensive backs Joselio Hanson and O.J. Atogwe in Philadelphia; Pittsburgh offensive lineman Trai Essex and punter Jeremy Kapinos, who were waived injured; Buffalo defensive tackle Dwan Edwards; and Giants running back D.J. Ware, who won two Super Bowls with the team.
NFL, refs talk again: The NFL and its on-field officials union are negotiating again, hoping to end the lockout that resulted in replacement officials working the preseason.
The league locked out the NFL Referees Association in early June, then hired replacements, whose work in exhibitions has been heavily criticized.
Arizona: The Cardinals will go with John Skelton as starting quarterback in their season opener Sept. 9 against Seattle. Coach Ken Whisenhunt announced his decision to go with Skelton over Kevin Kolb. Skelton is in his third season with Arizona.
Joseph pleads guilty: Former NFL defensive tackle William Joseph has pleaded guilty to federal charges arising out of an undercover FBI tax fraud investigation. Joseph, 32, who last played in 2010 for the Oakland Raiders, pleaded guilty to theft of government money and identity theft.
Houston: A 25-year-old fan died after tumbling about 60 feet from a fifth-floor escalator at Reliant Stadium during a preseason Houston Texans game, officials said Friday.
Jonathon Kelly of Houston fell to the ground floor during the Thursday night game against the Minnesota Vikings. The fall appeared to be an accident, according to police.
Minnesota: The NFL fined rookie safety Harrison Smith $21,000 for a hit on San Diego Chargers receiver Mike Willie on Aug. 24.
Washington: The NFL suspended safety Tanard Jackson indefinitely without pay for violating the leagues substances abuse policy.
Observer News Services