Saints release all-time leading receiver Colston


The New Orleans Saints have released all-time leading wide receiver Marques Colston after 10 seasons with the team.

A seventh-round draft pick from Hofstra by the Saints in 2006, Colston's release, which was confirmed on Monday, came as an expected move after he failed a medical.

Colston, who helped New Orleans to victory in Super Bowl XLIII, holds just about every Saints receiving record with 711 career receptions for 9,759 yards and 72 touchdowns. 

His 13.7 yards-per-reception average is a franchise-high, as are his six 1,000-yard seasons. Colston set team records in 2007 with 98 receptions for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

Colston has helped bring on Brandon Coleman, who Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says is the "heir apparent" to Colston. Coleman was undrafted out of Rutgers in 2014 and caught 30 passes for 454 yards and three touchdowns last season. 

Colston's productivity has steadily declined since the 2012 season when he caught 83 passes for 1,154 yards and 10 scores. Colston, 32, had just 45 catches for 520 and four touchdowns last season while missing three games and starting just five. 

Quarterback Drew Brees said even when Colston was not catching passes, his influence on younger players like Coleman was felt. 

"He has been a big impact on the offense and those guys," Brees said.

Brees and Colston have been part of a leadership core that's been together since 2006. But the team is clearly trying to rebuild after last season's 7-9 campaign. New Orleans released veteran guard and six-time Pro Bowler Jahri Evans -- a fourth-round pick in 2006 -- earlier this month.

While the Saints aren't strapped for salary-cap space, releasing Colston will clear up $3.2 million. 

He posted on his personal website: "To everyone from the Benson family, the front office, coaches, and the training and equipment staff: It has been a pleasure to be part of a family with so many great people. 

"And to my fellow players: thanks to each of you for sharing this journey with me, challenging me to grow as a player, and an individual. 

"It's been an honour to work beside you, and as a team we achieved something that can never be duplicated - the first Super Bowl victory for NOLA."