Cowboys Waive Aikman

ByABC News
March 7, 2001, 4:51 PM

I R V I N G, Texas, March 7 -- The Dallas Cowboys waived Troy Aikman today, no longer convinced that the quarterback who led them tothree Super Bowl titles is healthy enough to be their starter.

"We will wait and see if he clears waivers and proceed fromthere," agent Leigh Steinberg told The Associated Press, decliningfurther comment.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones probably would have preferred to seethe 34-year-old Aikman retire after 12 seasons and 10 concussions but his desire to keep playing left the team with little choice.

Quarterback Is Fragile, Expensive

Jones had to make the move by Thursday or else pay Aikman a $7million bonus and extend his contract through 2007. He will stilltake up $10 million of Dallas' $67.4 million salary cap thisseason.

As much as Jones might have wanted to keep the first player heever drafted, the owner apparently decided the Cowboys couldn'tprepare for the 2001 season with such a fragile, expensivequarterback.

Aikman, a six-time Pro Bowler who holds practically all theDallas passing records, sustained two concussions in 11 games lastseason and twice needed epidural injections to relieve back pain.

The last play of his career in Dallas ended in a concussion inthe first quarter of a Dec. 10 victory over Washington. With theCowboys deep in Redskins territory, Aikman rolled out to his rightand was slammed to the turf on a crushing, leaping tackle bylinebacker LaVar Arrington.

Other teams might be scared off because of Aikman's injuryproblems, which could then prompt him to retire.

Aikman Still Wants To Play

One possible landing spot is San Diego, where close friend NorvTurner is the offensive coordinator. The Chargers also could useAikman to groom Michael Vick, should they make him the first pickin the upcoming draft. San Diego's starting job is open becauseRyan Leaf was released last week.

Aikman has said he still wants to play and believes he can at ahigh level. As for the health risks; tests done before last seasonshowed no long term damage from his previous concussions. The factthat his wife is pregnant with their first child apparently hasn'tadded to his fear of severe injury.