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Browns waive QB Ratliff, P Zastudil on busy day

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Brett Ratliff got caught in a numbers game again. For the second time this season, he became Cleveland's odd quarterback out.

The Browns waived the veteran QB on Tuesday, one of several moves on a busy day off for the club.

The team also waived punter Dave Zastudil, who had been on injured reserve with a knee injury, placed starting offensive guard Billy Yates on injured reserve with a biceps injury and signed defensive back Eric King and kick returner Clifton Smith.

Ratliff had returned to the Browns on Oct. 12, brought in to back up rookie Colt McCoy after both Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace suffered ankle injuries. But with McCoy playing well and Delhomme and Wallace back at practice, the Browns could no longer afford the luxury of carrying four quarterbacks, so Ratliff became expendable.

The Browns signed King and Smith as insurance after kick returner Joshua Cribbs (dislocated toes) and cornerback Sheldon Brown (shoulder) were injured in Sunday's loss to the New York Jets.

A Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2008 for Tampa Bay, Smith was released earlier this season by Miami. He was brought in for a workout with the Browns on Tuesday and they were impressed with him. He played in two games this season before the Dolphins released him.

Smith ended last season on injured reserve because of a concussion. He was slowed in the preseason by gout, which went undiagnosed for several weeks.

Browns coach Eric Mangini is optimistic Cribbs will be able to practice this week. Last Sunday, rookie Joe Haden filled in as Cleveland's primary returner. But with Brown hurt, Haden may have to start at corner and the Browns don't want to also saddle him with return duties.

King has played in 56 NFL games during his career, which began in 2005 when he was drafted in the fifth round by Buffalo. He has also played for Tennessee and Detroit, which waived him on Sept. 4.

Zastudil is now free to sign with another team. He underwent offseason knee surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in his "plant" leg. However, he was still bothered by pain in camp and he was placed on IR in August. Zastudil had several productive seasons for the Browns, who signed him as a free agent in 2006.

Yates, who made three starts, also got hurt on Sunday. Rookie Shaun Lauvao is expected to take Yates' spot on the right side.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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