In a shocking and unexpected development, Quincy Carter is no longer with the Dallas Cowboys after quarterbacking them to the playoffs last season.
Tim Brown, one of the top receivers in the NFL, is out after 16 seasons in Oakland.
On a day of departures in the NFL, Carter's release was a shock after he started every game in a 10-6 season and guided the Cowboys into the playoffs. The move left 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde as the starter, with the untested Drew Henson and Tony Romo behind him. Henson, considered a top prospect, has never played an NFL game and played baseball in the New York Yankees' farm system for three years.
''We've made a decision to move in a different direction,'' owner Jerry Jones said amid reports Carter failed a drug test. ''We're not going to get in a lot of detail on the process.''
Pressed on the matter, Jones added: ''I think that we should leave it at it just was not a difficult decision, and not get into a definition of what it was about. You're trying to get some information I just can't give.''
The NFL had no comment, its standard response to drug-related inquiries.
The release of the 38-year-old Brown by the Raiders was hardly a shock.
Salary cap constraints and the reality of reduced playing time persuaded owner Al Davis to part ways with the last member of the Los Angeles Raiders. Brown, who will be released Thursday, holds most of the club's receiving records, and his 240 games in Silver and Black are the most in franchise history.
''It's emotionally difficult. It's a part of your life,'' Davis said. ''Other than your family, this is your family. We've had many great players, but there are certain players you fall for. It's tough to lose him.''
Brown was equally emotional.
''I have fought the battle as much as I possibly could and tried to restore the image as much as possible to the Raiders,'' Brown said Wednesday. ''This won't be the end of Tim Brown. I'll surface somewhere else, probably.''
He ranks second in NFL history with 14,734 yards receiving and third with 1,070 catches. His 99 touchdown receptions are tied with Don Hutson for fourth, and his 19,434 all-purpose yards are fifth.
Center Matt Birk had minor surgery to determine the cause of a pelvic injury that's caused him to miss three consecutive practices. Doctors looked for a sports hernia, trainer Chuck Barta said. The team expected to learn the results Thursday.
Ben Roethlisberger was just like any other player on his first official day in a new uniform.
Nervous. Really, really nervous.
''Without question,'' the Steelers' first-round draft pick said Wednesday after his first training camp practice with the Pittsburgh Steelers. ''It felt like the first day of minicamp all over again. Tommy (Maddox) and I were laughing about it. You need to get out there and get the first play out of the way.''
That first play was nothing remarkable for the most-watched Steelers rookie quarterback since Terry Bradshaw in 1970. From the 20-yard line in a seven-on-seven passing drill, Roethlisberger overthrew wide receiver Plaxico Burress near the goal line.
On the next play, Roethlisberger threaded a pass through heavy coverage to Burress at the 1. So much for nervousness or hesitancy.
''I had a chance to throw to Plax for the first time and I overthrew him because I was so excited, so I came back and got him the next time,'' Roethlisberger said. ''The butterflies were gone and it was good to get back out there.''
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