The Indianapolis Colts have released starting SS Bob Sanders. Because the move was turned into the NFL office, Sanders, who is a vested veteran, is free to sign with another team immediately.
“We have released Bob Sanders today. We thank Bob for all his incredible contributions, from his Super Bowl interception to his Defensive Player-of-the-Year honor,” Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay said Friday.
Sanders, who has played in nine regular season games over the past three seasons, was signed through the 2012 season. He carried a base salary of $5.5 million for 2011 and $7 million for 2012. He also had $500,000 in workout bonuses in each of those two seasons. He missed all but one game last season due to a biceps injury.
Sanders started 46 of 48 career games, totaling 373 career tackles, 3.5 sacks, 13 passes defensed, three fumbles recovered, two fumbles forced and six interceptions. He earned NFL Defensive Player-of-the Year honors from the Associated Press in 2007. Sanders earned Pro Bowl honors for the 2005 and 2007 seasons.
Sanders, who turns 30 next week, was originally selected in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Colts.
“I want to thank Mr. (Jim) Irsay for the opportunity to play with the Colts,” said Sanders. “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.”
Sanders’ usual backup, S Melvin Bullitt, is unsigned. Journeyman S Aaron Francisco, who signed after the last season began and started 12 games in place of Sanders and Bullitt, is also unsigned.