Saints release running back C.J. Spiller

METAIRIE, La. (AP) The New Orleans Saints have released running back C.J. Spiller, who signed a four-year, $16 million free-agent contract just last season.

Spiller was a healthy scratch Sunday, when the Saints opened the regular season with a 35-34 loss to Oakland.

On Monday, Saints coach Sean Payton said Spiller was scratched because there wasn't room for him in the Raiders game plan, adding that Spiller's role could change ''week to week.''

But when the NFL posted Tuesday's transactions, Spiller's contract had been terminated.

When the Saints acquired Spiller, they hoped his versatility and his speed would allow him to fill roles similar to those of ex-Saints Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles.

But Spiller needed arthroscopic knee surgery last preseason and has contributed relatively little to New Orleans' prolific offense.

In 2015, Spiller gained 112 yards rushing and 239 yards receiving in 13 games, his lone significant highlight being a late-game, 80-yard touchdown catch in a victory over Dallas.

Spiller's best NFL season was 2012, his third as a pro, when he had 1,244 yards rushing and 459 yards receiving.

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Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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