After seven injury-plagued seasons, the Colts have released veteran S Bob Sanders, according to a message posted on Twitter by owner Jim Irsay.
Sanders, who is listed at 5-8, 206 pounds, has struggled to stay on the field throughout his career, playing in just nine regular-season games the past three seasons. He was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and has been named to a pair of Pro Bowls.
He suffered a torn biceps tendon in the 2010 season opener against Houston and was unable to return for the remainder of the season.
Irsay tweeted: "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."
Sanders, who turns 30 on Feb. 24, signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract following the '07 season, but has not been able to live up to expectations since.
He has played in 46 of a possible 112 regular-season games in his seven-year career, totaling 217 tackles, 3½ sacks, 13 passes defensed, six interceptions and two forced fumbles.
"I want to thank Mr. (Jim) Irsay for the opportunity to play with the Colts," Sanders said. "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."
The way we see it
The release of Sanders is not surprising, as the former NFL Defensive MVP has played sparingly since signing the megacontract following the ’07 season. Irsay did not rule out the possibility of bringing back Sanders with a more appropriate deal, but there was no way the Colts could afford to shell out another $5 million to a player who has not proven he can stay on the field. If Sanders were to return to the Colts, it would almost certainly be with a deal that includes much less guaranteed money and more that can be earned by incentives.
Sanders' release makes re-signing Melvin Bullitt even more critical. Bullitt was invaluable to the Colts in '08 and '09 when Sanders was out. He did, however, miss 12 games last season with a shoulder injury.