The Atlanta Falcons released two players and placed running back Byron Hanspard and offensive tackle Nate Miller on injured reserve Saturday, moving closer to setting their 53-man roster for the regular season.
Hanspard torn the anterior cruciate ligament and the patella tendon in his left knee when he was tripped up at the goal line on a 22-yard touchdown run in Friday night's 17-0 exhibition victory over Cincinnati.
A year ago, as a rookie backing up Jamal Anderson, Hanspard rushed for 335 yards and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. His role in the backfield will now be filled by Harold Green and Ken Oxendine, and rookies Tim Dwight and Jammi German may wind up returning kicks.
Team officials said Hanspard would undergo surgery as soon as possible, perhaps this weekend.
Miller, who played sparingly with the Falcons the last three years and this preseason, was placed on the injured list with a nerve problem in his neck.
The Falcons cut receiver Keith Crawford and cornerback Lenny McGill, leaving them with 56 players on the active roster. Three more cuts are needed by Sunday's deadline.
The Falcons open the season Sept. 6 at Carolina.
LEVENS REPORTEDLY SIGNS: Pro Bowl running back Dorsey Levens has agreed to sign a one-year "franchise tender" with the Green Bay Packers and end his contract holdout, according to published reports.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette and an Atlanta paper both reported that Levens had agreed Friday to the deal that would pay him $2.742 million for one year as the team's franchise player and leave the door open for a long-term deal to be worked out later.
Both newspapers quoted Levens' agent, Hadley Engelhard, as saying the running back will report to the team this week to begin preparations for the season opener against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 6.
Levens had been asking for a five-year deal worth about $5 million per year.
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