IRVING -- It didn't take long for the Dallas Cowboys to replace Andre Gurode in the starting lineup. His locker will be quickly taken, too.
The only memory left of Gurode on Monday was his No. 65 jersey hanging on a several-hundred-pound lion statute he had in front of his locker.
The Cowboys released Gurode after failing to work out either a salary reduction or a trade for the five-time Pro Bowler. While the team was practicing Monday morning, Gurode was cleaning out his locker.
"That's just the way the league is," Cowboys defensive end Igor Olshansky said. "He's not the first one. He's not going to be the last one. He's a great player. I'm sure we'll be seeing him for a very long time still out there. It's just there are 32 teams. All it takes is just finding the right opportunity, the right fit, the right scheme for you."
Dallas will save Gurode's $5.5 million base salary. He will count $1.7 million against this year's salary cap and $1.7 million against next year's salary cap. But the Cowboys' decision to part ways with Gurode was more than a "business" decision.
Even though Gurode, 32, had started 122 games in nine seasons, Phil Costa won the job in training camp. Costa, 24, took advantage of the first-team snaps he got in the 17 days Gurode was rehabbing from off-season knee surgery.
"We feel like we have some good young players on the offensive line who came in and competed well in camp," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We feel good enough as an organization to move along and make this decision.
"Now I want to reiterate that Andre has been an awfully good football player, and Andre is going to play in this league. The business part factors into it. But the competition part factors in as well. We felt like it was the best move for us right now."
The Cowboys have turned over their starting offensive line from last season, with only left tackle Doug Free playing the same position he played a year ago. Dallas released right tackle Marc Colombo and right guard Leonard Davis in salary-cap moves before training camp.
The Cowboys will start two rookies in their line -- seventh-round pick Bill Nagy at left guard and first-round pick Tyron Smith at right tackle. Costa was an undrafted free agent in 2010, playing in four games, with one start as a rookie. He sprained the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last week, but the Cowboys expect him to be ready for the Sept. 11 season opener.
"We've got some young guys that need experience, but they do have athletic ability," offensive line coach Hudson Houck said. "They are tough players, and they like playing the game, and they practice extremely well. So if they'll practice well, they'll learn what they have to do, and we'll be fine."
The Cowboys will have three other new offensive starters from the season opener last season. Dallas cut running back Marion Barber and receiver Roy Williams before training camp, and fullback Deon Anderson was cut during the 2010 season after starting opening day.
Garrett has created true competition on the team. He long has said "there are no starters," with every player having to earn his job. The Cowboys proved that yet again with Gurode's release.
"That's the way it should be," Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking said. "It's a very competitive league. The competition on this level is like none other. I think when you can create that environment and that message is sent throughout your team -- and it's not just a message; there are examples that run through the team -- I think that's a really good thing for everyone. That's what pushes you; that's what makes you better."