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QB Clemens a surprise cut as Rams pare down

The Rams released veteran quarterback Kellen Clemens along with 20 other players on Friday in order to reduce the roster to the 53-man limit for the upcoming 2012 regular season.

Clemens had been projected to be the main backup to 2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Sam Bradford after re-signing with the Rams during the offseason, but lost out to undrafted rookie Austin Davis.

The seventh-year pro made three late-season starts for an injured Bradford after being claimed off waivers from Houston in 2011, throwing for 546 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

A second-round pick of the Jets in 2006, Clemens' most extensive NFL action came in his second season, when the 29-year-old made eight starts and threw for 1,529 yards and five touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

With Bradford's injury history and Davis' inexperience, the Rams may be on the lookout for an experienced quarterback prior to the team's Sept. 9 season opener at Detroit.

The Rams also released quarterback Tom Brandstater and defensive end Vernon Gholston, a Jets' first-round selection in 2008 who had just signed with St. Louis on Aug. 22.

Fullback Ovie Mughelli, a nine-year vet who made the Pro Bowl with Atlanta in 2010, had his contract terminated as well. The 32-year-old signed with the Rams at the start of training camp.

Also let go on Friday were defensive tackle Cornell Banks, center Tim Barnes, defensive ends Mason Brodine, Jamaar Jarrett and Scott Smith, linebackers Aaron Brown and Sammy Brown, cornerback Kendric Burney, fullback Ben Guidugli, tight ends Cory Harkey and Deangelo Peterson, offensive linemen T. Bob Hebert, Joe Long, Bryan Mattison and Jose Valdez, wide receiver Nick Johnson and running back Chase Reynolds.

St. Louis also placed Austin Pettis on the reserve/suspended list. The second- year wideout will begin the season serving the final two tests of a four-game suspension he received last year for testing positive for a banned substance.