Bryant sustained a spinal cord injury in a 23-20 overtime loss to San Francisco and the team eventually placed him on injured reserve. The Raiders, who arrived in Napa, CA, Thursday for the start of training camp, released Bryant after going through a series of tests during the offseason and subsequently failing his physical at Alameda.
"It's unfortunate that he didn't pass it but in the best interest of his health, that's one of the things that occurs in this game," Oakland head coach Bill Callahan said. "He's very disappointed and we're disappointed. As far as the safety of the game is concerned that's the best decision at this point. He was an excellent guy, great teammate, well respected by everyone in the organization."
Oakland drafted Bryant in the second round of the 1999 draft out of Florida State. Bryant played as a backup in his rookie season, seeing action in 10 games before a sprained ankle cut his season short.
Bryant became a starter at defensive end in his second season. Bryant played in only eight games last season but was on his way toward having the best season of his career. He tallied 33 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for lost yardage. Bryant's career-highs entering last season were 40 total tackles, 5.0 sacks and 8.0 tackles for lost yardage.
Regarding injury settlement, Callahan said the team had not reached one to his knowledge. Callahan had not talked to Bryant as of Thursday evening but twice tried unsuccessfully in reaching Bryant by phone. The Raiders can still resign Bryant if, at some point, he is healthy enough to play.
"Anything is possible but by all indications it's not conceivable," Callahan said. "I'm anxious to talk to him."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com