METAIRIE, La. (AP) - The Saints released veteran defensive end Bobby McCray on Monday, abruptly parting ways with a playoff starter who helped New Orleans capture its first Super Bowl title.
McCray started all three of the defending champions' playoff games last season, making six tackles and a memorable block that flattened Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner after an interception.
He appeared to be in line to compete for a starting job in 2010 when the Saints released former starter Charles Grant, who had missed the postseason with a torn triceps. However, New Orleans signed former Chicago Bears starting defensive end Alex Brown, along with former Tampa Bay lineman Jimmy Wilkerson, who has the versatility to play on the interior or on the outside of the defensive line.
During minicamp in early June, McCray saw a lot of action with the first team while Brown was still new to the Saints' scheme and Wilkerson was limited in practice while continuing to rehabilitate a left knee injury.
The Saints appear to have decided to move forward with Brown and Wilkerson rotating at left defensive end and Will Smith playing most of the snaps on the right side.
McCray did not immediately respond to voice and text messages left on his mobile phone.
The 28-year-old has played six years in the NFL. The Saints used the quick, 6-foot-6 lineman mostly as a speed rusher in passing situations. He played in all 32 of the Saints' regular season games during the past two seasons, starting eight, and was credited with 41 tackles, 7½ sacks and a forced fumble.
Earlier this month, McCray said he expected to have a significant role with New Orleans again in 2010, regardless of whether he or Brown started. He remained with the club for its entire offseason program, which ended last Thursday, and had been spending much of his free time in the New Orleans area with Brown, a friend since they were college teammates at Florida.
The Saints are off now until they report for training camp on July 29.
In other moves Monday, the Saints waived reserve cornerback Glenn Sharpe, who spent the end of last season on the practice squad.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)