We knew it was coming for some time, but the Colts have released Bob Sanders.
Jim Irsay tweets:
We have released Bob Sanders today. We thank Bob 4 all his incredible contributions from his Sup Bowl pic 2 def player of year honors.
Bob's dramatic return at the end of the 2006 season helped bring the Colts the Super Bowl title. Sanders was incredible in the playoffs, capping them with a forced fumble and an interception in the Super Bowl.
Sanders was dominant in 2007 and won the defensive player of the year award. Just at the close of that season, he was signed to a huge contract that was risky at the time. No one could have imagined just how risky. Sanders only played in nine games over the next three seasons.
He got hurt in the first quarter of the first game in 2010, and the Colts secondary never recovered. For the Colts, backup safety Melvin Bullitt is coming off an injury and is also a free agent. Safety becomes the top need for the Colts in the draft.
Now a personal word about Bob Sanders:
Other than Manning and Harrison, only Bob Sanders has left his imprint so deeply on 18to88.com. Both Luke and I borrowed our original screen names from iterations of Bob Sanders, and our personal nickname for him: Zombie.
I wear my Bob Sanders jersey with pride, and I'm so grateful for his time in Indianapolis. Colts fans should remember him for what he gave us in January of 2007 and not for the frustrating injuries of the last three years. I dedicated a section to him in Blue Blood, and his legend should continue to live on in Indianapolis.
Having said that, there was no realistic way for the team to bring him back. Sanders could only be brought back at a massive pay cut, and frankly that wouldn't make sense. He has a better chance of getting a deal on the open market for more money than he could get from the Colts. Cutting him know likely wipes all salary ramifications from his past contract off the books. It was a move that simply had to happen.
We've now had to say goodbye to Marvin Harrison and Bob Sanders. It's sad, but that's the nature of sports.
“I want to thank Mr. (Jim) Irsay for the opportunity to play with the Colts,” said Sanders. “I appreciate all he and the organization did for me throughout my career, and I always will consider myself a Colt. I want to thank the fans also for their great support. They played a big part in making my seven years with the team very rewarding.”