The New York Giants, facing salary cap issues one year removed from winning the Super Bowl, released the team’s leading rusher in Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Chris Canty on Wednesday.
The moves followed Tuesday’s cutting of veteran linebacker Michael Boley.
The hard-running Bradshaw, who turns 27 next month, led the Giants last season with 1,015 yards rushing, despite missing games at Carolina with a neck injury and Atlanta with a sprained knee.
A seventh-round draft pick in 2007, Bradshaw was also plagued by foot problems that frequently kept him off the practice field yet he was a key contributor to a pair of Super Bowls won by New York.
“Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I’ve been around,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played.”
Foot problems forced him to miss four games in 2011.
Coach Tom Coughlin also praised Bradshaw, who scored the winning touchdown on a six-yard run with 57 seconds left in New York’s Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in 2012.
“Ahmad Bradshaw was drafted 250th in a class of 255 and to excel and to perform the way that he has, and to accomplish what he has, is a great tribute to him,” Coughlin said.
Bradshaw is second in Giants postseason history in rushing yards (480) and third in attempts (111).
Without Bradshaw, the Giants’ top returning running backs will be Andre Brown and David Wilson.
Canty, 30, who played previously for the Dallas Cowboys, was part of the Giants’ 2009 free agency class that also included Boley.
In four years with the Giants, Canty played in 49 regular-season games with 45 starts. His totals included 155 tackles (101 solo) and nine sacks.
After last year’s Super Bowl victory, Canty underwent knee surgery and missed the first six games of the regular season.