Popular running back Deuce McAllister was released today by the New Orleans Saints in a move that reduced the team’s payroll as free agency approaches. McAllister, the Saints’ all-time leading rusher with 6,069 yards, was due more than $7 million next season. The Saints say they granted McAllister his release so he could seek offers from other teams. He played a limited role in the Saints’ offense this past season with 107 carries for 418 yards. McAllister has had reconstructive surgery on both knees.
“Decisions like this are always very difficult ones to make,” Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says. “Deuce has epitomized hard work, leadership and productivity throughout his career and has been a source of great pride for all of us associated with the team.” According to the Times-Picayune, McAllister says he still wants to play football, even though he admits he’s not 100% healthy. “I just want to say thanks,” he said at a news conference this morning. “There is no animosity with me. We had good talks. In the end, it just didn’t work out.”
A first-round draft choice in 2001, McAllister also holds team records for touchdowns (55) and rushing touchdowns (49) and is the only Saints player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season four times. He played in the Pro Bowl in 2002 and 2003. His last 1,000-yard season was 2006, when the Saints advanced to the NFC championship game. That also was the season before McAllister’s second anterior cruciate ligament tear.