Veteran quarterbacks Jim Zorn, Jack Thompson, Bob Avellini and Joe Pisarcik were cut adrift and the Dallas Cowboys waived seven-year running back Ron Springs yesterday as National Football League teams reduced their rosters to the regular season 45-player limit.
While Zorn, an original Seahawk who started 100 games and passed for 20,000-plus yards, was being dropped by Seattle, Thompson by Tampa Bay, Avellini by the New York Jets and Pisarcik by Miami, Houston found that its backup passer, Oliver Luck, has a "slight" fracture of the left ankle, leaving the Oilers with only starter Warren Moon available for this weekend's opener.
Other veterans who did not survive their teams' final cuts included wide receiver Duriel Harris of the Cowboys, safety Beasley Reece of Tampa Bay, nose tackle Ken Kremer of Kansas City, starting linebacker Dan Bunz of the champion San Francisco 49ers and running back Mike Pruitt, the Cleveland Browns' No. 3 rusher, all-time, with 6,540 yards in nine seasons.
Coach Tom Landry said Dallas opted to cut Springs after deciding to start Timmy Newsome at fullback and keep former U.S. Football League running back John Williams in reserve. Dallas also waived defensive backs Carl Howard and Ricky Easmon and linebacker Scott Strasburger.
The Cowboys thus will begin the regular season with seven rookies, including punter Mike Saxon, Georgia Tech running back Robert Lavette and Virginia Tech linebacker Jesse Penn.
Also in the NFC East, Philadelphia's offense got two big boosts when wide receiver Mike Quick ended his holdout and running back Earnest Jackson was obtained from the San Diego Chargers.
The Jackson move fueled speculation that the Chargers might be able to sign running back Gary Anderson, a first-round 1983 draft choice who has been playing in the USFL. Another USFL player, quarterback Steve Young, may have been a factor in the Buccaneers' decision to cut Thompson.
Capital-area products cut besides Avellini, the 10-year pro out of Maryland, included ex-Maryland linebacker Eric Wilson by Green Bay; ex-Maryland defensive end Pete Koch by Cincinnati; tight end John Chesley (Eastern High School) by the Dolphins, and veteran running back Ken Jenkins (Landon), by Detroit.