As a fan, cutdown day is the day I like least. For a handful of players, their dreams of playing professional football come to an end and it makes me feel for the guys that get cut. It was especially difficult this year because I went to six or so training camp sessions and watched how hard these guys worked. It is one thing to watch them perform on gameday, but if you really want to see these guys work, head to a practice.
Anyway, that is a long-winded way of saying the Cats cut nine players earlier this afternoon. I won't sit here and tell you that all deserved to be kept, because that's simply not true. While all of these players are talented – they wouldn't be at a professional team's training camp if they weren't talented – some of them just weren't talented enough to crack this roster. That said, there were a number of surprising cuts, with three standing out from the rest.
Probably the most surprising was the release of Belton Johnson. Johnson started all of last season, a majority of the 2010 season and spent the entire training camp working with the first-team offense. It was pretty surprising to see him let go, especially because Brian Simmons is still on the team. I thought Johnson outplayed Simmons during the preseason and if the team was going to let go of any veteran offensive lineman, it was going to be Simmons.
Just slightly less surprising was seeing the team get rid of Milt Collins. Collins was acquired less than a year ago in a trade with Calgary and I thought he'd be the team's opening-day starter at safety. It looks like they are very high on rookie safety Craig Ray and that is why Collins was let go.
Finally, we all knew that the team was going to have to part ways with a receiver or two and the first one let go was rookie Chris Duvalt. Duvalt looked good in both mini-camp and training camp, but he didn't show a great deal in either preseason game (to be fair, he got hurt against the Argos). With all the talent that the team has at receiver, a good player was going to be released and Duvalt just happened to be that player.