The Washington Redskins placed center Bob Kuziel and three other players on the injured reserve list and cut 14 other players, including veterans Dallas Hickman, John McDaniel, Bobby Hammond and Ike Forte, to trim the roster to 65 players today.
In a separate roster move, cornerback Ray Waddy, still recovering from a fractured leg incurred against St. Louis in the seventh week of last season, was placed on the physically unable to perform list. He will not be eligible to return until the sixth week of this season.
Kuziel, 31, is now in Sibley Memorial Hospital, where his bad back is in traction. The seven-year veteran will be eligible to return to the Redskins this year, but must clear waivers first. It is unlikely that he will be back.
The Redskins need to cut five players by Tuesday's 4 p.m. mandatory cutdown to 60. One of the five moves will involve tight end Bob Raba, formerly of the University of Maryland. The Redskins said he either will be waived or put on injured reserve, depending on the results of tests on a knee today.
By Aug. 25 -- eight days and one exhibition game from today -- Gibbs will have to trim the roster to 50 to meet the NFL's second mandatory cut.
Other cuts today included, from the offense, wide receivers Zion McKinney (one of three rookies to make last year's team), Jerry Hill (an 11th-round pick this year and the only 1981 draftee to be waived), and running back George Ragsdale.
Cut from the defense were tackle Rich Dimler, linebackers Bill Banks and Herb Spencer and strong safety Terry Peters, the brother of starting strong safety Tony Peters.
Three kickers were cut: Brian Speelman, Sandro Vitiello and punter Dave Smigelsky.
Besides Kuziel, defensive ends Neil Elshire (knee) and Angelo Wells (shoulder) and free safety James Stewart (bruised bicep) were placed on the injured reserve list.
For Gibbs, the first-year coach, making the cuts was a new experience. As offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers last year, Gibbs did not have to give any "Sorry, but . . . " speeches.
"You don't like to tell any of these guys who have worked so hard that they can't play for your team," Gibbs said. "We hope that there will be some interest in some of these guys. Hopefully, someone will pick them up this week. I would think there would have to be interest in a guy like Dallas Hickman."
This would have been the sixth pro season for Hickman, 29. A player who, like Pete Wysocki or Rusty Tillman, made a name on the special teams, Hickman was shuffled between linebacker and the defensive line over the past few seasons, thereby becoming a man without a real position. He was the special teams captain the last two years.
"They are going with youth, and I just got caught up in the numbers," said Hickman.
When Gibbs was asked if he were getting rid of the elders and going instead with the younger players, he answered quickly, "Age means nothing. We cut some rookies and free agents, too. We made a concentrated effort to give everyone a chance, especially the veterans."
Kuziel has been with the Redskins for five years and started the past three seasons before losing his center position to Dan Peiffer late last season. He is one of the more popular members of the team.
There was no formal announcement of today's cuts. Members of the team found out who was cut at this morning's practice when they turned to their right or left and noticed someone wasn't there.
There really weren't any surprises.
McDaniel's pass-reception total over the past three years had declined from 34 to 25 to 14. He was cut in the 1979 Redskins camp, then picked up later that year. McDaniel, 29, was a favorite of former Redskins offensive coordinator Joe Walton, who is now with the Jets, but it is not likely that McDaniel will be picked up again by the Redskins this year. Hammond, 29, was claimed on waivers from the New York Giants in 1979. Like McDaniel, Hammond was once cut, then brought back by Washington. After returning from the cut list in 1980, Hammond got one start, and made the most of it: he ran for 135 yards in 17 carries against St. Louis in the final game of the season.
Forte, 27, was one of the Redskins' most adept special teams players. He had injury problems: fractured ribs cost him a month last year and other injuries cost him playing time in other seasons.
Gibbs said the decisions didn't come easily. "We talked about it, we talked about it and we talked about it. We had some long meetings. We wanted to make sure. We had so many new faces that it made it even harder than normal."
The coach added the Redskins tried to work out trades involving the players who were released today. "We talked trade with everybody in the league about every player on the (cut) list, ever since the draft," he said. "We couldn't work one out."