NEW ORLEANS, LA. (WVUE) - The New Orleans Saints announced Wednesday that they had parted ways with four veterans who had been a part of the 2009 Super Bowl Championship team.
Defensive end Will Smith, cornerback Jabari Greer, and safety Roman Harper's contracts were terminated and it was announced that free agent linebacker Jonathan Vilma would not be re-signed.
The following are quotes from owner Tom Benson, general manager Mickey Loomis, and head coach Sean Payton:
Tom Benson, Owner/Chairman:
"I would like to thank Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan for their contributions on and off the field for the New Orleans Saints over the past several years. All four of them played important roles in the success of our club and were great players and teammates. In addition, all of them made a significant impact in our community, especially with our youth and helping serve the less fortunate. On behalf of our organization and our fans, we appreciate everything that they have done for us and wish them continued success."
Mickey Loomis, Executive Vice President/General Manager:
"These were not easy decisions to make. Since we acquired them, Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan have all been excellent players on the field for us. Each of them were integral parts in turning this program around and winning a Super Bowl. They were a great example to our players as team leaders in the locker room as well. Will and Roman were two of the better draft picks we have made. Jonathan Vilma has been one of our best trades ever and Jabari Greer has been one of our best free agent signings. These are the kinds of players and people you hope to acquire. However, a new NFL year is about to begin and, with the start of free agency in March, these difficult moves allow us to position our team under the salary cap to move forward for 2014."
Sean Payton, Head Coach:
"I have coached and been around a lot of great players and I put these four guys right there at the top. Jabari, Roman, Will and Jonathan all represent and epitomize what we look for in our players. These are disciplined, smart, tough and team-oriented individuals. They all played an important role in helping this team and this city win its first Super Bowl and they have all enjoyed multiple playoff appearances and wins."