Backup quarterbacks were prominent among players cut Friday as teams whittled their rosters to the 53-man maximum.
Nine-year veteran Seneca Wallace was beaten out by Colt McCoy in Cleveland, Mike Kafka fell to rookie Nick Foles and journeyman Trent Edwards in Philadelphia, Brian Hoyer got axed in New England, Josh McCown was released by Chicago and 12th-year pro Sage Rosenfels didn't make the cut in Minnesota.
Other veterans released as team's prepare for the regular season, which begins Wednesday night with Dallas at the New York Giants, included 2005 Super Bowl MVP receiver Deion Branch and center Dan Koppen in New England; defensive backs Joselio Hanson and O.J. Atogwe in Philadelphia; Pittsburgh offensive lineman Trai Essex and punter Jeremy Kapinos, who were waived injured; Buffalo DT Dwan Edwards; and Giants running back D.J. Ware, who won two Super Bowls with the team.
"Today is the worst day of the year," said John Elway, executive vice president of football operations for the Denver Broncos. "The second-worst is last week when we get down to 75 because of these guys, they put their hearts and souls into being NFL football players. So, you end a lot of dreams and guys put a lot of sweat and tears into trying to make a team. So, it's always a very tough day."
Tenth-year cornerback Drayton Florence was cut when Elway decided to keep three quarterbacks in Denver.
Caleb Hanie stuck around even though he was sacked nine times in the preseason, an astonishing once every 4.3 drop-backs. The Broncos also kept rookie Brock Osweiler, a second-round draft pick who was selected with the intention of one day succeeding Peyton Manning.
Of course, if Manning has his way, neither Hanie nor Osweiler will see the field this season.
Teams had until 9 p.m. ET to trim their rosters to 53. They have until Noon ET Saturday to put in waiver claims and sign up to eight practice squad players.
The 31-year-old Wallace spent two seasons with the Browns, who acquired him in a 2011 trade from Seattle, where he played for Browns President Mike Holmgren. Wallace started seven games for Cleveland.
Kafka, a fourth-round pick in 2010, appeared in four games last year. He completed 11 of 16 passes for 107 yards with two interceptions. Kafka played in one preseason game this summer before breaking his non-throwing hand.
The Chiefs have cut defensive tackle Amon Gordon and linebacker Leon Williams, a pair of veterans, while trimming their roster to the 53-man limit.
Safe for now is running back Nate Eachus, a rookie out of Colgate and Hazleton Area. He won over players and fans with his spirited play throughout training camp and the preseason.
Still, more roster moves are possible as the Chiefs consider other players who've been waived.