The axe of somewhat name players is falling around the NFL as teams get down to their 53-man rosters, and Friday the defending NFC Champion Cardinals released former starting tight end Leonard Pope and four-year safety Aaron Francisco. The two were the biggest names were among 21 players cut by Arizona to reach the NFL’s 53-man limit. Others released by the team on Friday included offensive tackle Oliver Ross.
Pope, a 6-foot-8 third-round draft pick out of Georgia in 2006, played in 42 games and started 25 in three seasons with the Cardinals, including eight last year. He has 48 career catches but only nine in 13 games last season. Francisco, a standout on special teams, played in 53 games over four seasons after making the club as an undrafted free agent out of BYU in 2005.
“Two in particular that have made significant contributions to our football squad,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “It’s tough to part ways with that but, in any situation, you have to make those decisions. I thank both Leonard and Aaron for what they’ve done for me and for this program and I wish them the best, but that’s unfortunately is what this business is about.”