Biekert, Barlow and Jones among cuts

The Raiders pruned down their roster to meet the 53-player limit on Sunday but the shears cut closer than anyone had expected. Veteran linebackers Greg Biekert and Mike Jones were let go, as was wide receiver Reggie Barlow.

The Raiders also released safeties Johnnie Harris and Keyon Nash and quarterback Ronald Curry, the team's sixth- and seventh-round draft picks, respectively. Defensive tackle Josh Taves, linebackers Bobby Brooks and Gerald Dixon, running back Madre Hill, tight ends Brandon Williams and Marcus Williams, cornerback Brandon Jennings, safety Ray Perryman, wide receiver Elijah Thurman and offensive linemen Joe Wong and Tom Ackerman were all let go. Tight end Jeremy Brigham was placed on injured reserve.

Oakland's decision to cut Biekert, a former seventh-round draft choice who led the Raiders in tackles each of the last four seasons, ended a nine-year relationship between the two sides. It also capped a tumultuous week in which the team gave Biekert an ultimatum to take a $1.5 million cut in pay or risk being released. Biekert shunned the offer and left the team for one day after meeting with owner Al Davis and senior executive Bruce Allen. Though he returned to the team and started in the Raiders' preseason finale win over Arizona, Oakland followed through on its threat and handed Biekert his walking papers.

The move also opens the door for rookie linebacker Napoleon Harris to move into the starting lineup.

''It was evident Greg wants to play but he wasn't going to be a starter here,'' said Raiders head coach Bill Callahan. ''That was the primary factor.''

The Raiders were backed into a corner somewhat due to injuries to right guard Mo Collins and punter Shane Lechler. That forced Oakland to carry two extra players on their roster, spots that could become open in three weeks. That's the estimated timetable both Collins and Lechler are expected to be sidelined.

Barlow had been hoping to win a job as the Raiders fifth receiver and punt returner, but the continued development of Marcus Knight and the solid preseason performances of rookie Phillip Buchanon on special teams made Barlow expendable.


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