The Atlanta Falcons cleared an opening for rookie fullback Bradie Ewing on Tuesday when they released veteran Ovie Mughelli in a move that also frees salary cap space.
The move was not a surprise after the Falcons traded for cornerback Asante Samuel before April’s draft and selected Ewing in the fifth round. The F alcons needed to cut payroll, and Mughelli was an obvious target.
Mughelli, 31, was due to earn a base salary of $3 million in 2012. His 2011 season ended when he hurt his right knee in Week 7 at Detroit and was placed on injured reserve.
The Falcon s gave Mughelli a six-year, $18 million contract in 2007. He made 38 starts in 69 games with Atlanta.
Mughelli said Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith left open the possibility that he might have a chance to re-sign with the team at a reduced salary.
TEXANS: Signed kicker Shayne Graham. The 34-year-old has played for a dozen NFL teams in his career. He played for Cincinnati from 2003-09 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2005.
COURTS: Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he broke into a house and possessed prescription painkillers as part of a plea agreement that recommends he spend nine months in inpatient drug treatment.
Leaf pleaded guilty to one count each of felony burglary and drug possession during a hearing in Cascade County District Court.
The plea agreement also calls for a five-year suspended sentence. The judge also denied Leaf’s request for a bail reduction, saying he was out on bond when he was arrested a second time.
CHARGERS: Signed draft picks Melvin Ingram, an outside linebacker from South Carolina, Kendall Reyes and David Molk to four-year contracts.
STEELERS: Signed seventh-round draft pick Toney Clemons to a four-year contract.
BENGALS: Acquired guard Chris Riley from Tampa Bay and defensive tackle Vaughan Meatoga from Washington off waivers.