The Indianapolis Colts have officially released its 5'8''/200 pound hard-hitting free safety Bob Sanders earlier this morning, according to ESPN and Twitter.
Colts' owner Jim 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."
The injury-ridden Sanders started just one game this season, and a total of nine games in the past three seasons. The last time the two-time All-Pro (2005, 2007) was an impact player on the Colts' defense was during Indy's Super Bowl run in 2007 when he recorded 71 tackles, 3.5 sacks and picked off two passes in 15 starts.
There's no doubt Sanders is quite the playmaker when in full health, but I think lagging injuries to his ankle, knee, arm and his torn biceps tendon which forced him on to the injured reserve this past season, will prevent him from landing a big-time contract with another team.
Don't get me wrong, Sanders' knack for making tackles in the secondary will get him a short-term contract for the 2011 season (as soon as the owners and players agree to a new CBA), but at age 29 I don't think he will be swarmed with offers. He will likely need to settle with a smaller contract by the time training camp rolls around.
Sanders has yet to play a full 16-game season, but he has had two seasons with 14 or more starts and was named to the All Pro team and AFC Pro Bowl roster in both of those seasons ('05, '07). He's not a guy who picks off a whole lot of passes--just six in his 46 career starts since entering the NFL in 2004--but in both of his "full" seasons he recorded at least 70 tackles.
There's always a chance that Indianapolis brings him back, but it will obviously be a much smaller contract. They have been overpaying him by a lot over the past three seasons. He will likely listen to any offers on the table and take the best suitable contract for his situation.
Whoever signs Sanders, it will likely be in a low-risk situation, meaning if they get a healthy Sanders the risk will be well-worth the end result.