It’s been a tough spell for former Illini in the NFL.
— Former Illini offensive lineman Brandon Moore has backed out of a deal with the Dallas Cowboys and told the team he plans to retire. A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that Moore changed his mind Wednesday morning after agreeing to a deal the night before. The person spoke on conditioning of anonymity because no announcement was planned. The 33-year-old Moore played 10 seasons for the Jets.
—The Saints have lost receiver Joseph Morgan, a former Illini, for the season because of injury, depriving New Orleans of one of its top deep threats.
Morgan hurt his left knee in Saturday’s scrimmage, and coach Sean Payton says his diagnosis has come back as a torn meniscus and partial tear of his anterior cruciate ligament.
Morgan is entering his third year as a pro and was expected to be a regular behind veterans Lance Moore and Marques Colston.
— Veteran Chicago cornerback Kelvin Hayden will miss the entire season after tearing his left hamstring in practice. The former Illini suffered the injury at practice Saturday night at Soldier Field.
He’ll need surgery and six to eight months of rehab. He’ll be replaced by second-year player Isaiah Frey, a practice squad player last year. Frey is a 2012 sixth-round draft pick from Nevada.
The 30-year-old Hayden has 12 career interceptions.
— The Eagles suffered another major loss to their wide receivers when Arrelious Benn tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Tuesday, sidelining him for the season and further decimating the team’s depth chart. The former Illini is the third player on the Eagles to suffer an ACL in two weeks, and the second wide receiver.
A former second-round pick, Benn was acquired in March and had the chance to earn a starting job after Jeremy Maclin tore an ACL on the second day of training camp. The team was intrigued by his skills and potential, but his injury history caused him to fall out of favor with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Those injury problems reemerged on the first day of camp, when Benn was sidelined with a knee injury. He missed more than a week and did not return until Sunday. Benn only had two full practices all camp before Tuesday’s injury.