Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian issued a statement Tuesday on the release of wide receiver Marvin Harrison. Polian also addressed Harrison's departure at a Tuesday press conference with Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay and Head Coach Jim Caldwell. Polian's statement and press conference highlights follow.
(Statement on the release of Marvin Harrison)
"We today have released Marvin Harrison because of salary cap considerations."
"Marvin let us know his preference was to be released. Both Jim Irsay and I felt very strongly that after Marvin's long and dedicated service to the Colts, we would, in this painful circumstance, be guided by Marvin's wishes."
"This is a sad day for the Colts. Marvin Harrison, in addition to being a certain Hall of Famer, has been a good friend, model professional and a loyal and dedicated teammate. His record-setting achievements brought about by immense talent, work ethic and dignified professional demeanor have thrilled Colts fans for a generation. Marvin today takes his place alongside Raymond Berry, forming the greatest receiving tandem in Colts history. He will, in due time, join Raymond in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and take his rightful place with the greatest players in the history of the game."
"On behalf of his legion of fans in Indianapolis and his many friends and admirers in the Colts organization, Jim Irsay and I sincerely thank Marvin for all he has done for us. We wish him every blessing and success in the future."
"When Marvin's playing career comes to an end, we look forward to bringing him "home" to Indianapolis, installing him in the Ring of Honor and joining all his fans in thanking him and celebrating his remarkable career."
"Godspeed Marvin, we will miss you."
(Opening Remarks at press conference on the departure of WR-Marvin Harrison)
"This is a sad day for the Colts, a sad day for Colts fans, a sad day for me personally and for many others in this building who have come to know and like Marvin Harrison so much. Marvin and I talked Saturday night—I think it was Saturday night—and we talked at length about all of the things that he had accomplished here, about our personal friendship. He reminded me of my going to Syracuse and working him out. He remembered that. That was to this day the most amazing workout I've ever seen by a wide receiver, maybe by an athlete, and then he mentioned that it worked out that we weren't able to get together then, we weren't able to draft him then, as I was in Carolina, but pretty soon we were together here. I've always treasured the time that I've had with him, the personal time, because I respected him so much as a person. (Colts Owner and CEO) Jim (Irsay) alluded to the fact that he worked so hard on his craft. He was always so prepared. He did every little thing it took to win in the National Football League and to become a great player and to build on that great God-given ability that he had. And he did it with quiet dignity, with superb professionalism and with a sense of contribution to the team that really is second to none. He is a Hall of Famer, no question. The numbers alone indicate that. But for those of us who had the pleasure of being around him, there's no question that he's the transcendent receiver of this generation, and most importantly I think the thing that makes you so proud to be associated with him is that he did it on the field. He didn't need anything else to validate his greatness. All you had to do was turn on the tape, turn on the television set or be in the stadium and see him play and you knew that you were in the presence of an all-timer. I'll never forget the catch that he made at Tennessee which in my mind is the signature catch of his career, where he completed the long-ball and reached out while suspended in the air and caught the ball with one hand and got a critical first down and then waived everybody to come on down. That was quintessential Marvin. When we talked he indicated that he did not want to come back for this kind of an event, and we certainly appreciated that and that's entirely consistent with his personality and the way he conducts himself. I emphasized to him, and I know Jim (Irsay) re-emphasized it today that we hope that he will be back here—and we know he'll be back here, he's looking forward to it—at some time in the future to be recognized formally and to go on the Ring of Honor and to have the fans recognize finally his contributions to this club and have him retire as a Colt. He takes his place with Raymond Berry as the two greatest receivers in this club's history. I know he wants to continue to play, and we're supportive of that and were from the outset. Jim (Irsay) and I talked at length about how to handle this process and we agreed that we would talk separately with Marvin. We agreed that if he wished to be released that that would be okay with us and we would support that. I hope that his playing career doesn't go too much longer, at least selfishly, because I want to be around to see him inducted into Canton. As I said, it's a sad day in the sense that you never like to see a player of Marvin's stature leave, but I was gratified for him that he got a chance to be alone in the record book as the number two receiver of all-time, do that in front of our fans here in Indianapolis and receive from them and from his teammates and from all of us the warm applause and congratulations for a stellar and exemplary career. We've been fortunate to be able to watch him all these years and we wish him nothing but the best in all the years to come."
(on if WR-Marvin Harrison could come back via free agency)
"We'll see what the future holds. I can't predict the future. In talking with Marvin and talking to Tom Condon it was clear because of the salary cap issues that we face that no one wanted to get into a situation where we were forcing Marvin to take a Draconian cut in pay which would be, in many respects, demeaning to him, a player of his stature. Let's see what the future holds. We've made it clear how we feel about Marvin. He may feel that the change of scenery may be a good thing. We'll see. I can't predict the future. We'll just let it take shape as it goes."
(on if WR-Marvin Harrison has been officially released today)"No, he has not. The waiver wire is effective at 4:00 p.m., so the release won't appear on the wire until tomorrow. We've sent the documentation but it went after 4:00 p.m., so officially it will happen tomorrow."
(on why the Colts couldn't afford Harrison's current deal)
"His current cap number is too much for us to afford, given the fact we are up against a cap that has new rules relative to the last capped year which we're entering. Essentially, those new rules create difficulty for us. For eleven years we've managed the cap and never had a problem with cap issues. Quite honestly, we did not see this day coming soon enough to plan for it. This was not an expected situation. When these rules became apparent, it became apparent to us internally as Jim (Irsay) alluded to that this was going to be a number that was very hard to live with. In addition, his acceleration or any acceleration that would accrue by a reworking of the contract would count this year. You can't push it over into next year. So you were in a box where you couldn't live with the cap number and you could not rework the contract in any meaningful way to make sure that it fit. We were in a bind. We were hoping against hope to maybe be able to do something, but in the end when we crunched all the numbers it just didn't work. It's really that simple. It's really a function of the last capped year and the special rules that go into effect in that area."
(on if this changes the Colts' approach in the draft)
"I'll never get another Marvin as long as I live. We knew that this day would come. We hoped that it wouldn't, but in reality you have to know it comes eventually. This doesn't alter our plans measurably. I think Anthony Gonzalez will step in and do a fine job. There will never be another Marvin."