The Redskins began trimming their roster before Tuesday's deadline with several notable departures.
Darnerien McCants, the team's fifth round selection in the 2001 Draft, announced his release on his web site (www.DarnerienMcCants.com ) on Sunday.
Following his most productive season in 2003, in which he tied departed wide receiver Laveranues Coles for the team lead in touchdown receptions (6), the Arundel High School graduate had his worst season in 2004. McCants was inactive for 10 games and caught only 5 passes for 71 yards in five games.
McCants' practice habits and lack of participation on special teams convinced coaches to sign veteran Kevin Dyson in June. Dyson, who missed the 2004 season, competed with McCants for the final receiver slot.
McCants suffered a hand injury during training camp that required stitches, and he caught only three passes for 29 yards in three preseason games.
Also released were quarterback Bryson Spinner, running backs Jonathan Combs and Brock Forsey, wide receiver Steven Harris, tight end Billy Baber, offensive lineman Josh Warner, kicker Jeff Chandler, defensive linemen Charles Howard and Jerome Nichols, linebackers Jared Newberry and Clifton Smith, and defensive back Charles Byrd.
Other surprise exits were Baber, Newberry, and Smith.
Baber was battling with Robert Johnson and Brian Kozlowski for the backup tight end spot behind Robert Royal. Johnson's blocking and catching ability along with his size (6'6" and 278 pounds) led to Baber's exit.
Newberry was the Redskins sixth round pick in the 2005 Draft. The Stanford product was competing with Clifton Smith for a spot as a middle linebacker.
Smith, originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003, has only appeared in one game as a Redskin, and was placed on injured reserve in 2004 with a triceps injury. The 25 year old was a highly touted prospect coming out of Syracuse, but his tenure with the Redskins never panned out.
Newberry, Howard, and Nichols could all be candidates for the team's practice squad.