Colts Release Longtime Receiver Harrison
WR Requested Release From Indianapolis
POSTED: Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS -- The future of perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Marvin Harrison was finally decided on Tuesday as the Indianapolis Colts held a news conference announcing his release.
"Marvin let us know his preference was to be released. Both (team owner) Jim Irsay and I felt very strongly that after Marvin's long and dedicated service to the Colts, we would, in this painful circumstance, be guided by Marvin's wishes," Colts president Bill Polian said.
"This is a sad day for the Colts. Marvin Harrison, in addition to being a certain Hall of Famer, has been a good friend, model professional and a loyal and dedicated teammate. His record-setting achievements brought about by immense talent, work ethic and dignified professional demeanor have thrilled Colts fans for a generation."
The Indianapolis Star reported on Monday the receiver's agent, Tom Condon, confirmed the club granted Harrison's wish to be released after he declined to restructure his contract.
But a later report from the same paper indicated there was still a possibility Harrison could remain with the Colts. Irsay stated Condon's presumption was "premature."
Harrison, the league's highest paid receiver, would have counted $13.4 million against the Colts' salary cap next season had his services been retained. Indy gained $6 million in cap space with the release.
A 13-year NFL veteran, Harrison's release ends one of the most successful quarterback-wide receiver tandems in league history. The former Syracuse star and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning own NFL records for most completions (971), yards (13,090) and touchdowns (110) since the two began playing together in 1998, the year Manning was taken No. 1 overall. Harrison was drafted by Indy with the 19th overall pick two years earlier.
"Marvin was a fine competitor, not just on Sunday afternoon, but on the practice field. He led by example. Rarely did he use words that he didn't have to," Colts head coach Jim Caldwell said.
Among his individual accomplishments in Indianapolis, Harrison owns franchise receiving records for receiving yards (14,580), touchdowns (128) and receptions (1,102). Those totals rank the 36-year-old second in NFL career receptions, fourth in receiving yardage and fifth in touchdown receptions.
His streak of 190 straight games with a reception is an NFL record to begin a career while his eight consecutive 10-plus touchdown reception seasons from 1999-2006 is also tops in NFL receiving lore. He accumulated 59, 100-plus receiving yardage performances, also a franchise mark and second-best among receivers all-time.
Harrison recorded 636 yards and five touchdowns on 60 catches in 15 games last season. He played in only five games in 2007 because of a knee injury.
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