Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Johnson, Hicks Released; Sims Dealt to Bucs

Football can be a cruel game, especially for established veterans.

You sacrifice your body for years and years and then when you reach the dreaded 30s, a good player becomes expensive and expendable.

Just ask WR Keyshawn Johnson and DE Eric Hicks - both were released on Tuesday.

The Carolina Panthers drafted wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett on Saturday and cut Johnson on Tuesday.

They said they wanted to get younger," Johnson told the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday. "That's fine with me. I'd like to go somewhere and help someone win another Super Bowl."

Johnson, who will turn 35 in July, had 70 catches for 815 yards and four touchdowns last season and became the 16th player in NFL history with 800 career catches. The Panthers signed Johnson last year after he was released by Dallas in a salary cap move so the Cowboys could sign Terrell Owens.

Hicks was released by Kansas City three days after the Chiefs drafted Turk McBride in the draft.

Hicks, who made the Chiefs' roster as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland in 1998, has appeared in 128 games with 104 starts over nine seasons. Hicks ranks fifth in team history with 44 1/2 sacks, with a career-best 14 sacks in 2000. He also ranks 12th in tackles with 574 -- including 284 solo stops -- with a single-season best of 118 tackles in 2003.

It's going to be tough for either of them to land somewhere until training camps start in July. Both teams will probably have to settle for a veteran's minimum contract.

Despite their aging bodies, Johnson and Hicks should provide a team with solid play and veteran leadership.

Defensive tackle Ryan Sims, the sixth overall pick in the 2002 draft, was traded by Kansas City to Tampa Bay for an undisclosed draft choice.

Sims was a huge disappointment with the Chiefs, often overweight and often injured.

In five seasons, the 6-foot-4, 315-pounders appeared in 59 games with 36 starts. Over that span, he had 149 tackles -- 79 unassisted -- with five sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

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