Philadelphia Eagle linebacker Bill Bergey, entering his 13th NFL season but hobbled by a chronically ailing left knee, was placed on the injured reserve list yesterday as National Football League teams reduced their rosters to the mandatory 60-player limit.
Eagle Coach Dick Vermeil said, "Bergey just isn't physically ready to play football yet, but I hope he can work his way back where he can play." On injured reserve, Bergey must miss the first four weeks of the year. Then he must clear procedural waivers before he can be reactivated. The Eagles think that because of Bergey's age (36), knee and estimated $250,000 salary, the four-time Pro Bowl player probably will not be claimed.
In getting to the 60-player limit, the Eagles also placed fullback Leroy Harris, who suffered a broken arm in preseason play Saturday night, on injured reserve. The team waived 10 players, while acquiring fullback Booker Russell for an undisclosed draft choice in a trade with San Diego.
Players cut by the Eagles included four-year veteran wide receiver Luther Blue and former starter and six-year veteran fullback Mike Hogan, who was cut in 1979 in the wake of drug charges that were later dropped. Hogan was re-signed last year.
Elsewhere in the league, veteran defensive end Ron Fernandes was one of three players dropped by the Colts. A former standout with Miami, Fernandes played three seasons with the Colts and spent two others on injured reserve with a knee problem.
Wide receiver Roger Carr signed with the Colts, ending his week-long boycott of preseason practice. No terms were announced.
New England veteran all-pro tight end Russ Francis, who announced his retirement last month and did not report to camp, was officially deactivated, placed on the reserve-did not report list. New England linebacker Ray Costick, a four-year veteran, was traded to New Orleans for an unannounced draft choice, but the transaction was negated by the NFL because Costic had been placed on protective status at the end of last season.
Atlanta waived 10 players, including running back Bubba Bean, the team's rushing leader in 1976 and '78. Also released was veteran cornerback Steve Luke, a starter at Green Bay.
Veteran safety Frank Reed, acquired from Atlanta in the trade for Luke, was one of seven players released by the Packers. Other veterans waived were tight end Bill Larsen and cornerback Charles Cornelius.
Pittsburgh reached the limit by trading veteran defensive tackle Steve Furness to Tampa Bay for an undisclosed draft pick and placing six players on waivers and three on injured reserve.
The New York Giants cut seven players, including second-year defensive back Tony Blount, formerly of Virginia.
Denver place-kicker Fred Steinfort, the team's leading scorer last year with 110 points and the last unsigned veteran free agent, signed a new contract yesterday. Another holdout, Chicago guard Noah Jackson, signed two one-year contracts without an option.