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Lions cut Rogers, Broncos release Dayne

Any NFL teams looking for help in the backfield might be encouraged by the availability of a few running backs who were cut Saturday.

That includes Ron Dayne and Lee Suggs.

Dayne, the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner who entered the Broncos’ training camp as the starter, was released as Denver got down to the 53-man limit. Suggs, traded by Cleveland to the New York Jets, then returned to the Browns when he failed a physical, also was cut.

So were Detroit’s Charles Rogers, the second overall draft pick by Detroit three years ago, and Denver’s Darius Watts, both wide receivers.

“I kind of understand. Once I got hurt, the other guys stepped up,” said Dayne, who was surpassed by undrafted rookie Mike Bell and then suffered turf toe in the preseason opener and didn’t play again.

Dayne also was a flop with the New York Giants, who drafted him in 2000 out of Wisconsin, where he set the NCAA career rushing record.

But he could find a taker in Houston, which is coached by former Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. The Texans placed their top runner, Domanick Davis, on injured reserve Saturday.

Watts’ release by Denver was a surprise. The second-round pick in 2004 was expected to be the Broncos’ No. 3 receiver.

“I didn’t see it coming,” Watts said. “Tell me if anybody did.”

Suggs led the Browns with 744 yards rushing two years ago. But his biggest problem was he couldn’t stay on the field. Suggs missed 23 of 48 career games with neck, shoulder, toe, ankle and thumb injuries.

Coach Romeo Crennel said Suggs’ medical history had no bearing on the decision.

“If that had been a major factor, he would have been cut last year,” Crennel said.

The Browns also placed on injured reserve running back William Green, who led them to the playoffs as a rookie and has overcome personal problems. They added yet another center to their roster by acquiring Hank Fraley from Philadelphia for a conditional 2008 draft choice. Cleveland has been scrambling for a center since free agent addition LeCharles Bentley wrecked his knee in training camp.

Bengals

Another sidelined runner, at least for the first six weeks of the season, is Cincinnati’s Chris Perry. He is on the physically-unable-to-perform list after knee and ankle surgery in the offseason prevented him from playing in the preseason. Lions

Rogers’ career in Detroit ended with just 36 receptions for 440 yards and four touchdowns along with two broken collarbones and a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy.

“We picked the men that are right for this football team,” coach Rod Marinelli said. “It’s behind us. I wish him the very best. We just move on.”

Steelers

The Super Bowl champion Steelers kept veteran RB Duce Staley, although he might not suit up much early in the season. Staley dropped to No. 3 on the depth chart. He was signed to start two years ago and was averaging 101 yards a game through seven games, but has played little since then after injuring a hamstring.

Texans

Davis, Houston’s top rusher the last three seasons, has been out for a month with soreness in his left knee caused by a bone bruise.

“He’s done everything he can do,” Kubiak said. “It’s been disappointing for him and disappointing for everybody.”

Davis has 3,195 yards and 23 touchdowns in three NFL seasons.

“It’s sad I won’t be here in light of what is going on, because I feel that the team is going to be very good this season,” he said. “I’d love to be part of it, but right now I have to get myself together. I’m glad they supported me. They felt good about what I have done in the past and what I can do.”

The Texans also released veteran tackle Seth Wand. Patriots

With Deion Branch still a holdout, New England acquired Doug Gabriel from Oakland to bolster the receiving corps. Gabriel was scheduled to start for Oakland across from Randy Moss; he has 71 receptions in three seasons.

Branch, who has one year left on his contract worth $1.045 million, filed a grievance against the Patriots on Friday. New England gave him permission to seek a trade and he worked out a contract with the Jets, but the Patriots nixed a deal. Vikings

WR Todd Pinkston, who spent his first six seasons with the Eagles signed with Minnesota. Pinkston, who played the last four under current Vikings coach Brad Childress when he was an Eagles assistant coach, missed all of last season with a torn right Achilles’ tendon.