Tony Brown and Kerryon Johnson lose NFL spots


Of the 69 players who officially joined or left the NFL rosters on Tuesday, four had football roots in Alabama.

Cornerback Tony Brown (Alabama) and running back Kerryon Johnson (Madison Academy, Auburn) lost their spots with the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers, respectively.

Tight end Jordan Matthews (Madison Academy) and wide receiver Damion Willis (Troy) have joined the 49ers and the Washington football team, respectively.

All four deals involved training team positions.

In his third season in the NFL, Brown played 13 games and started one for the Bengals in 2020. He had spent the first four weeks of the 2021 season on the practice squad after failing to make it to the team. Cincinnati’s active roster coming out of the preseason.

During his first two seasons in the NFL, Johnson led the Detroit Lions to the run in 2018 and 2019, even though knee injuries caused him to miss 14 games in those seasons.

This is the third time Johnson has come out this year. The Philadelphia Eagles acquired the running back as a waiver after the Lions released him on May 6. The Eagles released Johnson with an injury settlement on August 26 after a knee injury sent him to the injured reserve on August 18.

The 49ers chose Johnson for their practice squad on September 14. San Francisco elevated Johnson to active status for his Sept. 26 game against the Green Bay Packers, and he entered the field for nine special teams games.

The 49ers released a former Madison Academy star from their practice squad on Tuesday to add another.

A wide receiver who tallied for 997 yards for the Eagles in 2015, Matthews is now a tight end having played just five games in the past two seasons. After being released at the end of the preseason, Matthews had spent the first two weeks of the regular season on the San Francisco practice squad before being released on September 22.

Willis made the Bengals an undrafted rookie in 2019, when he caught nine assists in 10 games.

Since his release from Cincinnati at the end of training camp in 2020, Willis has been with the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos and New York Giants without making a regular season appearance. He was with the Giants during the preseason this year and spent two days on the New York practice squad in September.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @ AMarkG1.


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