5 NFL superstars who were cut during the season

New England Patriots WR Antonio Brown
New England Patriots WR Antonio Brown
Adam Hulse

When NFL superstars are cut from the roster it is always a big deal. It most often happens during the offseason because of contract situations and other reasons. It is much more rare during the course of the season. Here are five NFL superstars that were cut at some point in their careers while a season was already in progress.

NFL superstars cut while a season was already in progress

#1 - WR Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

One of the biggest NFL superstars who was cut during the course of an active season is also the most recent one. Prior to Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season, the Cleveland Browns released Odell Beckham Jr. His relationship with quarterback Baker Mayfield began to suffer as his involvement in the offense has decreased to near irrelevancy. Beckham will look to find a more favorable situation for himself.

Browns are releasing WR Odell Beckham Jr. (via @RapSheet)

#2 - RB Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice is one of the NFL superstars who was cut for something not related to football at all. He was an excellent running back for the Ravens and one of the best in the league. He was cut after a disturbingly violent video was released involving Rice and his fiancee at the time. The story surfaced previously but as soon as the Ravens saw the video, Rice was cut immediately.

#3 - WR Antonio Brown, New England Patriots

Antonio Brown is another one of the NFL superstars who was cut for issues off the field. He was traded to the Raiders by the Steelers but after a ton of issues between Brown and the organization, he requested to be cut and they granted his wish.

In the last year the Steelers ate a $21 million Cap charge to trade him; the Raiders ate two draft choices to cut him; and the Patriots ate a $9 million signing bonus to cut him. Good luck Buccaneers. #antoniobrown

He then signed with the Patriots almost immediately, but was released a couple of weeks later because of legal allegations off the field. After a long battle back from all of the adversity, today he is again a top wide receiver and having an excellent season with the Buccaneers.

#4 - LB NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers

NaVorro Bowman was one of the NFL superstars who played linebacker for an excellent San Francisco 49ers defense. They were one of the top defensive units in the NFL at the time and Bowman was part of the reason why.

In seven seasons with the 49ers, Bowman was selected to the All-Pro team four times. He was released during his eighth year. He is one of the most surprising NFL superstars to be cut given the situation.

#5 - LB James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers

James Harrison was cut four times by two different teams, the Steelers and Ravens, in his first two seasons. It did not appear that he would have much success in the league but he flipped the script. He was one of the biggest NFL superstars of his generation and was a staple in some excellent defenses for the Steelers.

Edited by Henno van Deventer
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