Stokes, Mickell to Return; Team Cuts Seven, Including RB White
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Former All-Pro running back Lorenzo White was among the New Orleans Saints’ first cuts of the week, with another dozen to go today.
All NFL teams had to cut to 60 players today, with the final cut to 53 next Sunday.
The team activated defensive end Darren Mickell, who was expected to start in the team’s final exhibition game Friday against Minneapolis.
Coach Jim Mora said Mario Bates, Ray Zellars and Derek Brown made White expendable. ``I just didn’t see Lorenzo doing any better than Mario, Ray or Derek as a pure running back, so we felt we could do without him,″ Mora said.
Fourth-round draft pick Ricky Whittle of the University of Oregon also is a running back. ``We haven’t seen enough of Ricky yet, but he’s going to be OK,″ Mora said.
White, who joined the Saints during the offseason as a free agent, was a first-round pick out of Michigan State in 1988. He appeared in his first and only Pro Bowl in 1992 with the Houston Oilers.
In 1995, White joined Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent.
In nine NFL seasons, White, 30, has rushed 1,062 times for 4,242 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also has caught 192 passes to 1,738 yards and six touchdowns.
Last season, White played in 12 games for the Browns, started two, rushed for 162 yards on 62 carries and scored once.
Also released Monday were kicker John Becksvoort, defensive back Forey Duckett, tackle Kevin Farkas and guards Darren Reese, Tom Roth and Mark Tucker.
Meanwhile, New Orleans’ injury-riddled defensive line was bolstered by the return of Mickell and possible return of Fred Stokes.
Each has missed the first five weeks of camp. Stokes suffered leg injuries. Mickell spent a month in a drug and alcohol treatment center.
Doctors initially thought that Stokes pulled his right calf muscle while trying to rehabilitate a surgically repaired right knee. They now have determined that a cyst burst behind the knee.