After Saints cuts, past and present players reflect on the NFL, careers of the outgoing

Saints from the past and present took to Twitter to react to the team’s announcement on Wednesday that it was cutting ties with Will Smith, Roman Harper, Jabari Greer and Jonathan Vilma. They congratulated the departed players for their careers with the Black and Gold and reminded their followers that the NFL is a cruel business for p.

Lance Moore, Ben Watson, Scott Shanle, Scott Fujita, Danny Clark and Steve Gleason all chimed in:

 

Smith emailed a statement to the media in which he thanked New Orleans for the opportunity to play his favorite sport in front “of football’s greatest fans” and alongside some of his best friends.

Harper tweeted:

Smith, Harper, Greer and Vilma combined to play 28 postseason games for the Saints. They won 18, including Super Bowl XLIV. Three of them — Smith, Harper and Vilma — were past Pro Bowlers.

To free up much-needed salary cap space, the Saints will release Smith, Harper and Greer. They will not re-sign Vilma when he becomes a free-agent in March.

Former Saints DE/LB Will Smith makes statement

After having his contract terminated along with safety Roman Harper and cornerback Jabari Greer on Wednesday, former Saints defensive end/linebacker Will Smith issued a statement thanking the fans and team for his 10-year stay with the club.

The Saints also announced that linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month, will not be re-signed.

“While it was always my dream to retire as a member of the New Orleans Saints, I recognize that the NFL remains a business first,” Smith said. “I will always be grateful to Mr. Benson, Mr. Loomis, and Coach Payton for the opportunity they gave me to play the sport I love in front of football’s greatest fans, amongst some of my best friends.

“We accomplished great things during my time with the Saints, including winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history, and I am proud of my contributions during the decade I wore black and gold.

“My wife Racquel and I will continue our commitment to improving lives for New Orleans’ youth no matter where my next stop in professional football takes me. I’m in good spirits, thankful and focused on training. My family and I welcome the next chapter in our NFL life. Who Dat!”

Classy move.

Keyunta Dawson re-signs with Saints

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Darius Johnson (13) fumbles the ball as New Orleans Saints defensive end Keyunta Dawson (55) makes the hit during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in Atlanta. New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White recovered the ball. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Darius Johnson (13) fumbles the ball as New Orleans Saints defensive end Keyunta Dawson (55) makes the hit during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in Atlanta. New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White recovered the ball. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Outside linebacker-defensive end Keyunta Dawson, who joined the Saints six weeks into the 2013 season, has accepted a new one-year deal from the team.

The deal is for a veteran minimum salary of $855,000, and it includes an undisclosed signing bonus, said Dawson’s agent, Jarrett Smith. It will carry a cap figure of $575,000.

Dawson was picked up three days after being cut by Tennessee. He proved to be instrumental in a close win in Atlanta on Nov. 21, recording half a sack and forcing a key fumble. He then missed six of the last seven games with a hurt calf, but he clearly showed enough to warrant another contract from the Saints.

Dawson, a Shreveport native, is in his sixth year in the NFL. He is 28 years old, finished the 2013 campaign with three solo tackles and got in on two others.

The Saints’ director of player personnel, Ryan Pace, called the acquisition of Dawson one of his proudest moments of the past season, especially after the Atlanta victory.

“Those are the moves that we have the most pride in,” Pace said at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., in January. “Those are the moves that you really feel like you’ve done a lot of work on those guys, and then they come in and play well.”

Check back with The Advocate for more Saints news later.