Special teams captain Courtney Roby was one of the bigger names among players released Saturday by the Saints as they reached the regular-season limit of 53 players by making 22 roster moves.
Roby, who had been with the team since 2008, had his contract terminated along with cornerback Chris Carr, a nine-year veteran who was trying to earn a roster spot with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan — whom he played under from 2005-07 with the Oakland Raiders.
A wide receiver by trade, Roby made his biggest contributions on special teams as a return man and on punt and kickoff coverage. He was valued by Saints coaches as a “gunner” who lined up on the outside on punts and fought off double-teams to get downfield to try to make the tackle.
Playing in 62 career games with the Saints — including 13 a year ago — Roby, who was voted special teams captain by his teammates the past two seasons, had just two receptions for 15 yards.
But he averaged 25.6 yards on 94 kickoff returns and had a 97-yarder for a score to open the second half against the St. Louis Rams in 2009, helping the Saints to their ninth win in a row to start a season that would culminate with them winning Super Bowl XLIV.
Carr was signed by the Saints in mid-June as their offseason program was winding up. He made a strong impression early in training camp and made some big plays in the Black and Gold Scrimmage, intercepting one pass and tipping another pass that linebacker David Hawthorne intercepted.
The Saints also terminated the contract of defensive end/linebacker Jay Richardson, who saw extensive action in the preseason because of numerous injuries at linebacker, and waived veteran wide receiver Preston Parker, who caught two touchdown passes in the preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Richardson, who started Thursday night’s preseason finale with the Miami Dolphins at defensive end because starter Cameron Jordan was held out, hasn’t played in an NFL regular-season game since 2010.
The Saints also terminated the contract of safety Jim Leonhard and put center/guard Eric Olsen on injured reserve.
The Saints waived former Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin, an undrafted free agent, and linebacker Rufus Johnson, their sixth-round draft pick this spring.
They also waived nose tackle Isaako Aaitui; linebackers Baraka Atkins and Ray Shipman; wide receiver Saalim Hakim; fullback Austin Johnson; tight ends Michael Higgins and Keavon Milton; tackle Marcel Jones; cornerbacks Korey Lindsey and Jumal Rolle; guards Elliott Mealer and Andrew Tiller; safety Jerico Nelson; and center Jeremiah Warren.
CB Chris Carr
S Jim Leonhard
DE/LB Jay Richardson
WR Courtney Roby
NT Isaako Aaitui
LB Baraka Atkins
QB Ryan Griffin
WR Saalim Hakim
FB Austin Johnson
TE Michael Higgins
LB Rufus Johnson
T Marcel Jones
CB Korey Lindsey
G Elliott Mealer
TE Keavon Milton
S Jerico Nelson
WR Preston Parker
CB Jumal Rolle
LB Ray Shipman
G Andrew Tiller
C Jeremiah Warren
C/G Eric Olsen
The 53-man roster the Saints’ handed in on Saturday is:
Quarterbacks (2): Drew Brees, Luke McCown
Running backs (5): Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet
Fullback (1): Jed Collins
Wide receivers (5): Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Kenny Stills, Nick Toon, Andy Tanner
Tight ends (3): Jimmy Graham, Ben Watson and Josh Hill
Offensive tackles: Charles Brown (left), Zach Strief (right), Terron Armstead (left) and Bryce Harris
Guards (3): Jahri Evans (right), Ben Grubbs (left) and Tim Lelito
Center (1): Brian de la Puente
Defensive ends (5): Cameron Jordan, Akiem Hicks, Glenn Foster, Tom Johnson and Tyrunn Walker
Nose tackles (2): Brodrick Bunkley, John Jenkins
Inside linebackers (6): Curtis Lofton, Jonathan Vilma, Ramon Humber, David Hawthorne, Will Herring and Kevin Reddick
Outside linebackers (3): Junior Galette, Martez Wilson and Parys Haralson
Cornerbacks (5): Keenan Lewis, Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson, Corey White and Rod Sweeting
Safeties (5): Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Kenny Vaccaro, Rafael Bush and Isa Abdul-Quddus
Punter (1): Thomas Morstead
Kicker (1): Garrett Hartley
Long-snapper (1): Justin Drescher
Physically unable to perform: Outside linebacker Victor Butler