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Last original Texan gone, Crayton traded

The Associated Press

There are no more original Houston Texans.

Kicker Kris Brown, the only player left from the inaugural 2002 season, was cut by coach Gary Kubiak on Friday as NFL teams began paring to the 53-man roster limit for the regular season. Brown was beaten out by Neil Rackers, a free agent signed by Houston in the offseason.

“It was miserable, I don’t know how to put it any differently,” said Kubiak, entering his fifth season as Houston’s coach. “Kris and I had a lot of conversations throughout my time here. We’ve had some great conversations, we’ve had some tough conversations on Sunday nights. But I respect him as a man. He’s a great person. I respect his career, and I know he’s going to have a good one.”

Brown followed up his best season as a pro in 2008 with his worst last year, when he made just 21 of 32 field goals. Rackers spent the previous seven seasons in Arizona and made the Pro Bowl in 2005 after setting an NFL record for field goals in a season (40).

Neither kicker missed in the preseason until Brown came up short on a 56-yarder in Thursday’s 24-17 loss to Tampa Bay. Rackers hit a 21-yarder later in the game.

“It was a tough, tough call,” Kubiak said.

Over in North Texas, the Cowboys made a move by sending receiver Patrick Crayton to San Diego for a late-round draft choice next April. Crayton was expendable after Dallas drafted Dez Bryant in the first round this year and had asked to be traded.

Crayton skipped offseason workouts, but once he showed up, there were never any problems. He just couldn’t move ahead of Miles Austin, Roy Williams and Bryant on the depth chart.

“You have to let things play out,” Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said. “We really wanted to evaluate the full situation. Now we’re at a point where we need to make decisions.”

Dallas also sent offensive lineman Pat McQuistan to the Miami Dolphins for undisclosed considerations.

Another blocker was on the move with Arizona trading guard Reggie Wells to Philadelphia for a late-round draft pick. Wells, entering his eighth NFL season, has started 90 games, including 64 in a row since late in the 2005 season. The Cardinals moved Wells to right guard this preseason after they signed veteran left guard Alan Faneca.

“We’re adding a player that has started several seasons in the National Football League and has played at a very high level during the course of his career,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “He has experience at several different positions along the offensive line and he will be a welcome addition to that group. You can never have enough depth at that position as you go through an NFL season.”

Philly also released veteran running back J.J. Arrington. By releasing Arrington, the Eagles will receive a sixth-round pick from Denver in the 2012 draft, according to terms of the July trade that sent linebacker Joe Mays to the Broncos.

Minnesota sent third-string QB Sage Rosenfels, a 10-year veteran, and RB Darius Reynaud to the Giants for undisclosed draft picks in 2011 and 2012. Rosenfels will back up Eli Manning; previously, New York’s only other quarterback was the untested Rhett Bomar after Jim Sorgi injured his shoulder and was placed on IR.

Several other veterans were either cut or placed on injured lists. So was rookie running back Montario Hardesty, who showed much promise in Cleveland before tearing up his left knee in Thursday night’s final exhibition game. The Browns placed Hardesty on injured reserve.

After missing all of training camp with a bone bruise in his right knee, Hardesty was finally in the backfield against Chicago. The team was eager to get a good look at the powerful 23-year-old before the Sept. 4 opener at Tampa Bay, and Hardesty didn’t disappoint by running for 23 yards and a touchdown on his first six carries.

His seventh was his last this year.

The Browns knew there was a risk in Hardesty playing without much practice time.

“It’s a tough decision,” coach Eric Mangini said. “You want to be able to see a guy, you want to make sure that he’s prepared to play in the opener and do the things that he needs to do. You’re also concerned about the volume of work he’s been able to have up to that point.

“As we talked about it, we decided that this was going to be his last opportunity to get that work, so we thought it was the best idea to do that.”

Maybe not.

Denver put running back LenDale White on injured reserve with a torn right Achilles’ tendon. The veteran was to miss the first four games this season with a suspension and will serve the suspension while he is injured.

New England released former first-round draft pick Damione Lewis and also cut offensive lineman Eric Ghiaciuc.

Lewis, a first-round selection by St. Louis in 2001, was signed as a free agent in April after spending the past four seasons with Carolina. Ghiaciuc signed with the Patriots on Aug. 4 after four seasons with Cincinnati and one with San Diego.

The 49ers released 22 players on Friday, but all their 2010 draft picks made the cut. Gone are veteran RB Michael Robinson, who also was the special teams captain; TE Tony Curtis; and LB Matt Whilhelm.

Ladell Betts’ comeback from a serious knee injury is on hold after the Saints released the veteran running back. Betts has been trying to come back from an injury last November in which he tore ligaments in his left knee while with Washington.

Also gone from New Orleans are backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey, defensive end Bobby McCray and defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy.

The Cardinals released outside linebacker Cody Brown, a second-round draft pick out of Connecticut a year ago. They also cut tight end Anthony Becht, inside linebacker Monty Beisel and offensive guard Herman Johnson. Becht has played in 152 consecutive NFL games, third longest among active players in the NFL behind Brett Favre (287) and Peyton Manning (193). A 2000 first-round draft pick of the New York Jets, Becht also has played for Tampa Bay and St. Louis, as well as Arizona.