The Indianapolis Colts released Marvin Harrison on Tuesday, ending the star receiver’s 13 years with the team.
Colts owner Jim Irsay grudgingly honored Harrison’s request to be released after meeting with him in a final effort to re-sign the franchise’s career receiving leader.
Harrison would have counted US$13.4 million against the cap this year, the highest of any NFL receiver. Although Indianapolis wanted to restructure Harrison’s contract, Polian said there was no feasible way to do it. Agent Tom Condon said a day earlier that Harrison declined a pay cut.
He was second in NFL career receptions. He turns 37 in August and was coming off the least productive season of his career in which he was not injured. Cutting him could save the Colts about US$6 million on next season’s salary cap.
Team officials turned the news conference to announce Harrison’s release — the receiver didn’t attend — into an emotional tribute to one of the most identifiable players in the franchise’s Indianapolis era.
They took turns recounting stories that stretched back more than a decade. Irsay’s halting words at the start and team president Bill Polian’s reddened eyes at the end were indicative of how hard it was to let go of one of the best receivers in NFL history.
Irsay saw the announcement as more of a temporary goodbye than a permanent farewell. He said he wants to re-sign Harrison, one day, so he can leave the game as a Colts player.
The move was made because Harrison’s price tag was too expensive.
Harrison won a Super Bowl and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. He does not believe his career is finished and hopes to sign with another team, possibly as early as tomorrow, when the free-agent market opens.