MIAMI, Fla. - Tony Sparano said recently he needed to see something from the veteran cornerback Will Allen - needed to see whether he warranted a spot on the Miami Dolphins final roster.
Evidently, Sparano and the Dolphins didn't see enough. Allen, who hasn't played in a regular season game since 2009, was among those the Dolphins parted ways with on cut-down Saturday, when NFL teams trimmed their rosters to the 53-man limit.
Among the Dolphins' other notable cuts were running back Larry Johnson, fullback Lousaka Polite, defensive back Nate Ness and quarterback Kevin O'Connell. Lydon Murtha, a reserve offensive lineman who during the preseason filled in for Jake Long at left tackle, was placed on injured reserve. Meanwhile, second-year receiver Marlon Moore remained on the team and made the final 53-man roster.
Moore, a second-year receiver who was among the team's preseason leaders in receptions and receiving yards, received the news that he'd made the team on his birthday. He turned 24.
Asked on Thursday night after the Dolphins' final preseason game whether he thought he'd done enough to warrant a spot on the final roster, Moore said, "I don't think I did enough."
"I'm hungry," he said then. "Nothing is good enough. Even if I break a 99-yard run, I'd want to get 100 yards – I'd want to make a 100-yard run."
Though Moore wasn't necessarily satisfied with how he performed this preseason, the Dolphins apparently were. It's possible the Dolphins could bring back Allen and other players they released on Saturday.
NFL veterans with four or more years must be paid their entire contract if they are on an NFL roster in week one. However, any veteran signed after week one will be paid on a week to week basis.
Which could make it more likely that Allen, Ness and others return.
"The same thing happened last year. I'm in good spirits because it worked out for me," said Ness, who a season ago was claimed by the Seahawks. "They told me I don't think you'll clear waivers. We'll see."
Allen, meanwhile, wrote a farewell through his Twitter account.
"Thank you to all the phin fans you've been great!!!" Allen wrote. "It's been a gr8 ride.. Much love!!"
The Dolphins began Saturday needing to trim 23 players from its roster by 6 p.m. to meet the 53-man limit. By Saturday morning the Dolphins had already parted ways with safety Gerald Alexander, tight end Dedrick Epps and receiver John Matthews.
That those three were cut wasn't a surprise. The more difficult of the Dolphins' decisions, though, became public later on Saturday. Players that found themselves on the margin on Thursday night after the team's preseason victory against Dallas included the veterans Johnson and Allen, and Moore.
Allen, a cornerback who has started 124 of his 125 career games, sat out the Dolphins' first two preseason games and also missed stretches of practice while attempting to recover from a lingering knee injury that forced him to miss all of last season.
Even so, Allen shined in the first quarter of the final preseason game against the Cowboys. He deflected a pass that was intercepted in the end zone and he also had a tackle for loss.
Johnson, the once-dominant running back with the Kansas City Chiefs, also had his moments. He ran for a 22-yard touchdown in the first quarter and finished with 39 yards on 10 carries.
Sparano said on Thursday night he wasn't looking forward to the next few days – that he wasn't looking forward to cut-down Saturday.
"It's tough," he said then, before the team's final preseason game against Dallas. "And as I said the guys today before the game, you know, obviously it's just the nature of the business. Twenty-seven guys have to cut get here."
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