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Thursday, June 6
Four linebackers have been post-June 1 causalities

By Len Pasquarelli

Add another linebacker to the unemployment rolls, and another veteran to the list of players who are post-June 1 casualties, with the San Diego Chargers releasing one-time standout Sam Rogers on Thursday evening.

The eight-year veteran becomes the fourth linebacker league-wide released since Monday afternoon, joining Hardy Nickerson (Jacksonville), Keith Mitchell (New Orleans) and Mike Jones (Pittsburgh).

Rogers, 32, enjoyed a solid seven-year career with the Buffalo Bills before being released last spring for salary cap considerations. Former Bills general manager John Butler, who had moved to the same job with the Chargers, then brought him to San Diego on a five-year, $9.75 million contract.

But unlike some of the other former Bills players signed by Butler to Chargers contracts, Rogers did not have a productive 2001 season in his new environs. Rogers played in 15 games as a backup and posted only four tackles and one sack from scrimmage. He also had five special teams tackles.

By releasing Rogers, the Chargers will realize a cap savings of $650,000, his scheduled base salary for the 2002 season. San Diego will be charged $52,500 against its 2002 salary cap and $157,500 against its 2003 spending limit for prorated signing bonus fees.

A former University of Colorado standout, Rogers was chosen by the Bills in the second round of the 1994 draft. He earned a starting job in 1996 and became a fixture at outside linebacker on some excellent Buffalo defenses.

With the Bills, he had 500 tackles, 21 sacks, two interceptions, six forced fumbles, six recoveries and seven passes defensed. From 1996 through 2000, he averaged 15.2 starts a season. But like another former Buffalo linebacker, John Holecek, he was unable to crack the starting lineup with the Chargers.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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