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News » Indianapolis Colts Inside Slant 2009-02-28

Indianapolis Colts Inside Slant 2009-02-28

Indianapolis Colts Inside Slant 2009-02-28
It was a day that everybody saw coming but didn't want to believe it would happen. Wide receiver Marvin Harrison is no longer a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

The decision to part company with Harrison was not an easy one for anybody associated with the franchise, even though salary cap considerations for this coming season and the ramifications of an uncapped year in 2010 certainly played pivotal roles in the move.

Team owner Jim Irsay, especially, found it hard to consider moving on without the eight-time Pro Bowl participant being an important member of the team. Irsay took over control of the Colts the same year that the wide receiver was Indianapolis' first-round draft pick.

"I can see Marvin in 1996 coming in from the (NFL) draft into our complex, talking to him and meeting him for the first time. And the journey began. Certainly he came in right around the same time I assumed full ownership," Irsay recalled.

"But as an owner, these are rare events when you really talk about an individual who literally changed the face of the franchise. And through other great players and coaches around him, (Harrison) really brought us into a renaissance period. A period of greatness and excellence. It would take me too long to go through all of his (receiving) records that he has built on. Most of you did not have a chance to see how hard he worked. And I think that was one of the components about Marvin, his connection with (quarterback) Peyton Manning. How those guys hooked up in (1998), began the journey and together set records that will be talked about many, many years from now."

While the decision to release the franchise's all-time leading receiver did not come as a surprise, the two sides got together for one last talk before the roster move was announced. The meeting between Irsay and Harrison, though, was more about an opportunity to take one last look back at Philadelphia native's career with the Colts than it was about the team making a final contract offer.

"I think these days, with the salary cap, things changing with our salary cap as (the league's collective bargaining) agreement comes to an end, it's just very seldom that retirement lines up with a team and the player goes out at the same time," the franchise's owner said.

"That's something that I know I hope for. I wanted to make sure Marvin and I had a chance to talk one last time (Tuesday) afternoon and really, thoroughly, go through a lot of different things together.

"That was important to me. I know that he wishes to go forward and pursue opportunities in the National Football League. That's something that we honor and are granting his release. As I said, he's an individual where there will be time for the ceremonial aspects to his greatness. And what he's meant to the league, what he's meant to this team. That isn't (Tuesday). But we still wanted to take the opportunity to really reflect and to honor his greatness and all the things that he's done. Him and I had a great conversation and had a chance to reflect on a lot that has happened over these 12-plus years. And so I really wish him well. We'll be looking forward to the day when he goes into the (Pro Football) Hall of Fame, when he goes into (the Colts') Ring of Honor (at Lucas Oil Stadium)."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 28, 2009

Reggie Wayne Name: Reggie Wayne
Position: WR
Age: 29
Experience: 8 years
College: Miami (FL)
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