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Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: bhandwerger@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

For the third time in four seasons, the Saints released the previous season's special teams captain.

Courtney Roby's release is one of the biggest surprises of cut day, a day when there usually is at least one big shocking move.

The biggest surprise, though, was the release of versatile defensive player Jay Richardson. With injuries beating up the team at outside linebacker, his versatility he can play both outside linebacker and defensive end would seem to have been a key to keeping him around and providing depth for the Saints.

But he was released, likely an admission that coaches believe linebackers Junior Galette, Martez Wilson and Parys Haralson will be ready for the Sept. 8 opener against Atlanta. They're the only outside linebackers on the roster.

The next set of moves comes Sunday, when the Saints are allowed to put together a eight-man practice squad.

Roby has been New Orleans' special teams ace for much of the past four seasons. Troy Evans was released in the 2010 cut period while Pierson Prioleau was released in 2011. While Roby never caught on as a legitimate receiver, his prowess as the 'gunner' on punt team and his coverage ability on kickoff earned him respect in the locker room and among the coaches.

But several roster additions conspired to make Roby expendable. Andy Tanner's ability to do much of the same while playing on offense didn't help. And the Saints kept both Rafael Bush and Isa Abdul-Quddus on the roster; both are capable players at Roby's 'gunner' position.

Tanner, meanwhile, made the roster at least for now based on a strong offseason that built on steady play on the practice squad for the past two seasons. Tanner has been a consistent receiver who earned respect and praise from quarterback Drew Brees.

The release of quarterback Ryan Griffin was expected as the Saints have kept more than two quarterbacks only once in the Sean Payton Era (2007). Griffin's next step is to go through the waiver process. Should he clear it, it's likely he'll end up back with the Saints on the practice squad, a la Sean Canfield.

Released:
WR/ST Courtney Roby
DE Jay Richardson
CB Chris Carr
S Jim Leonhard

IR:
OL Eric Olsen

Waived:
QB Ryan Griffin
WR Preston Parker
FB Austin Johnson
WR Saalim Hakim
OG Elliott Mealer
TE Keavon Milton
TE Michael Higgins
OG Andrew Tiller
C Jeremiah Warren
ILB Ray Shipman
OLB Baraka Atkins
OT Marcel Jones
CB Korey Lindsey
CB Jumal Rolle

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