The Jacksonville Jaguars released five players today, including four veterans and one rookie, and traded two to reduce their roster to the NFL limit of 53. Released today were WR Curtis Marsh, DB Robert Massey, FB Le'Shai Maston, QB Todd Philcox, and rook ie OT Todd Fordham. Veteran DE Paul Frase was traded to the Green Bay Packers for the Packers' sixth-round draft choice in the 1998 draft, and second-year OT Jimmy Herndon was traded to the Chicago Bears for a seventh-round draft choice next year.
"I've said before that this is the most unpleasant part of being a coach," said Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin. "It's always difficult to cut players, but even more so when they are quality men like these. Robert Massey, for example, brought tremendous l eadership and work habits to this team. He and Le'Shai Maston are true professionals. They love the game of football, they enjoy the preparation and the challenges, and they both bring a positive mental attitude to work every day.
"And Paul Frase i s one of those rare athletes who performs extremely well under pressure, as evidenced by his taking over the long-snapping duties in the AFC Championship game," Coughlin added. "Paul is always a well-conditioned athlete and a man with great integrity and class who has done everything we asked of him since he came here."
Marsh, 26, was in his third season after being drafted by the Jaguars in the seventh round in 1995. Marsh saw action in nine games as a rookie and just one last year. Marsh made sev en receptions for 127 yards, all in his rookie season, in addition to returning 15 kickoffs for 323 yards that year.
Massey is the most experienced player among those released today, now in his ninth NFL season. The 30-year-old Massey joined the Ja guars as a free agent in April of 1996 and he played in every game for the team last season with two starts. Massey spent his first two NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints, followed by three years with the Cardinals and two with the Lions prior to com ing to Jacksonville.
Maston was the Jaguars' starting fullback for 17 of the 31 games in which he played the last two years. Now in his fifth season, Maston came to the Jaguars from the Houston Oilers in the 1995 Expansion Draft. The last two seaso ns the 26-year-old Maston gained 208 yards on 49 carries, adding 24 receptions for 185 yards.
Philcox is a seventh-year pro who joined the Jaguars in April of last year as an unrestricted free agent from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Philcox did not pl ay in any games last season, but he saw action in all four preseason games this year, completing 10 of 27 passes (37.0%) for 141 yards with one interception and a passer rating of 39.3.
Fordham was one of just nine rookies remaining on the roster, and one of only three undrafted rookies. The 23-year-old Fordham, who played collegiately at Florida State, saw action in all four preseason games this year.
Frase came to the Jaguars from the New York Jets in the 1995 Expansion draft. The 32-year- old Frase is in his ninth NFL season, having played in 119 games with 49 starts. In the last two seasons with the Jaguars Frase started in five of the 23 games in which he played.
Herndon, 23, was the Jaguars' fifth-round draft choice last year fro m Houston. He was on the active roster for the entire season but did not play in any games.