The Atlanta Falcons today announced that they have released center Brett Romberg and waived safety Rafael Bush, wide receiver Kevin Cone, wide receiver Drew Davis, guard Andrew Jackson, LB Robert James, defense end Emmanuel Stephens, tackle Jose Valdez and quarterback John Parker Wilson. The team also reached an injury settlement with tight end Ryan Winterswyk.
With those cuts, it means several players vying for roster spots have made the final 53-man roster. Undrafted rookie Darrin Walls — most notable among them — impressed during the preseason and throughout training camp. The Notre Dame product will back up Brent Grimes at the left cornerback position.
Running backs Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith were seemingly in a bit of a battle for the last few RB roster spots, but with the team cutting Gartrell Johnson on Friday, the pressure was off both. Rodgers was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft to provide a change of pace, and he provided just that during the preseason. Smith had a stunning performance against Baltimore in the Falcons' final preseason game when he finished with 114 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Another draft pick making the 53-man roster is defensive end Cliff Matthews, who was a mainstay in opponents backfields throughout the preseason.
Perhaps most overlooked during the preseason was defensive tackle Carlton Powell, a veteran who was brought in after Corey Peters went down with an injury. Powell earned three tackles and a half-sack during three preseason games.
Romberg, 6-2, 291 pounds, was originally signed by Jacksonville as a free agent on April 29, 2003 and later signed to the Jaguars practice squad on September 2, 2003. He spent two seasons with the St. Louis Rams before signing with the Falcons as a free agent on March 9, 2008 and cut prior to the start of the 2010 season. Romberg was signed by Atlanta as a free agent on August 29, 2011.
Bush, 5-11, 195 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent on April 26, 2010. He was signed to the Falcons practice squad on September 5, 2010 before being promoted to the active roster on December 29, 2010.
Cone, 6-2, 216 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent on July 26, 2011 out of Georgia Tech.
Davis, 6-1, 205 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent on July 26, 2011 out of the University of Oregon.
Jackson, 6-5, 295 pounds, was selected by the Falcons in the seventh round (210th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Fresno State University.
James, 5-11, 224 pounds, was selected by the Falcons in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Arizona State University.
Stephens, 6-3, 246 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent on April 26, 2010 out of the University of Mississippi. He spent the 2010 season as a member of the Falcons practice squad.
Valdez, 6-6, 321 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent on April 27, 2009 out of the University of Arkansas. He spent both the 2009 and 2010 seasons as a member of Atlanta's practice squad.
Wilson, 6-2, 215 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent on April 27, 2009. He was re-signed on July 30, 2011 after serving as Atlanta's third quarterback in 2010.
Winterswyk, 6-4, 258 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent on July 26, 2011 out of Boise State University.
Atlanta may establish an eight-player practice squad on September 4.