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By STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer

OXNARD, Calif. - Quincy Carter was cut by the Dallas Cowboys (news) on Wednesday, leaving 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde as the starting quarterback.

The team wouldn't say why it released Carter.

"We made a decision to move in a different direction," owner Jerry Jones said. "This on my part was not a difficult decision at all, though it is very disappointing, very disappointing."

The third-year player, who started all 16 games last season, came to camp expecting to be the team's No. 1 QB.

"I'm saddened by this turn of events, I really am," coach Bill Parcells said. "I just couldn't keep him in the plans."

Carter's agent, Eugene Parker, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The backup quarterback now will be Drew Henson, who played at Michigan and was out of football for three years while in minor league baseball. He is considered a top prospect, but his long absence from the football field and total lack of NFL experience make him a huge risk as a starter. The third quarterback in camp is unproven second-year player Tony Romo.

Testaverde started for the New York Jets (news) last season after Chad Pennington was hurt.

"He knows why he is here and what his job is, but right now that's the most experienced player (here) and I'm confident in that player," Parcells said. "I've got a good veteran quarterback here who's going to lead this team. And I've got two young guys I'm going to develop."

Parcells spoke to his team about Carter's departure after Wednesday's practice, but players declined to comment on that meeting.

"I think I probably speak for all the guys — how disappointed we are that Quincy is no longer going to be part of this team," Testaverde said. "But at the same time we know we have to look forward to getting things down and go out and win games."

Testaverde said Carter stopped by camp Wednesday morning and told him and several other players goodbye. Testaverde said he didn't know why Carter was cut and didn't want to speculate.

"We're shocked, just like everybody else," safety Roy Williams said. "We're mind-boggled like everyone else is."

The Cowboys drafted Carter in the second round out of Georgia in 2001. He was picked as the starter to replace Troy Aikman during his first training camp, but he struggled and only started the first eight games. He went 3-5, completing 90 of 176 passes for 1,072 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The next season, he was the starter out of camp again, leading Dallas to a 3-4 record before losing the job to Chad Hutchinson. Hutchinson was cut this year.

Last season, the Cowboys went 10-6 with Carter starting and returned to the playoffs in Parcells' first year in Dallas. Carter threw for 3,302 yards, but had 21 interceptions and 17 touchdowns. He was intercepted at least twice in a game six times.

Carter "did some really fine things over the past few years," Jones said.

Dallas opens the regular season at the Minnesota Vikings (news) on Sept. 12.
 

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I think it was one of the stupidest decisions that the Cowboys could've made. But hey, I'm in philly and philly is the dallas's rivals. So it's a great thing that they're making stupid moves. :)

But Quincy Carter took that team to the playoffs as their main QB. Don't they see that he's got skills? Argh, I hate stupid people.
 

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I know right? But it's because Bill Parcells likes Testaverde from before cuz him and Keyshawn Johnson really work good together. I'm still mad though, I think Quincy was played out underhanded. Somebody did him low...
 

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He failed a second drug test...that's why he's not starting.

Ricky Williams failed three...
 

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Well Quincy Carter was not that good. I mean he was good, give em a couple years and he should be aight. I do not think that losing carter will hurt the cowboys that bad... but wut hurts more is ricky leaving the dolphins. Even though they are under different circumstances. I think now the dolphins are kinda gonna suck.
 

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Quincy Carter is garbage anyways, the Cowboys are better without them. I hate the cowboys so I kinda wished they kept him .... Vinny = ancient, Drew = rookie ... face it the BOYS are DONE
 
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