Allen Park, MI (Sports Network) - The Detroit Lions released three veterans on Tuesday, as running back James Stewart, defensive tackle Luther Elliss and wide receiver Bill Schroeder all fell victim to salary-cap maneuvers.
The 32-year-old Stewart missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, but rushed for more than 1,000 yards twice in his first three seasons with the Lions. He signed with Detroit before the 2000 season, and rushed for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns that year, his most productive season in Motown.
Stewart added a 1,021-yard campaign in 2002, and there is a possibility he could be brought back into the fold by the Lions.
"We released James but we'll still talk to him," said general manager Matt Millen. "I still think he can be productive here. The reality of football in the new millennium is that we have to get everything right. We'll continue to talk to him and try to see if we can get something worked out."
Elliss, the 20th overall pick in the 1995 draft, has spent his entire nine- year career with the Lions, amassing 202 career tackles and 27 sacks. The 30- year-old's effectiveness has been limited by injury in recent years, and he suited up for just five games in 2003.
"Luther has been a great pro for us for the last nine years," Millen said. "He's been great in the community as well. That's a guy who put his heart and soul into this organization so it was a tough one but we felt it was time."
Schroeder signed as a free agent before the 2002 season after five years in Green Bay. In his two disappointing campaigns for the Lions, the 33-year-old has totaled 72 receptions for 992 yards and seven touchdowns.
Millen also said that safety Brian Walker was given his roster bonus, and will be back with the Lions in 2004.