NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -- The New Orleans Saints announced Wednesday that the team has parted ways with veterans Will Smith, Jabari Greer, Roman Harper and Jonathan Vilma. Each player was a member of the 2009 team that won Super Bowl XLIV. Smith, a 1st-round pick in 2004, was the longest tenured Saint on the roster. Vilma joined the squad in 2008 after being traded from the New York Jets. Harper was a 2nd round pick of the Saints in 2006 and his 17 careers sacks are the most by a defensive back in team history. Greer, a 10-year veteran, signed with the Saints as a free agent in 2009.
"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," said Saints Owner/Chairman of the Board Tom Benson. "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."
"These were not easy decisions to make," said Loomis. "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."
"I have coached and been around a lot of great players and I put these four guys right there at the top," said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. "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."