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New Orleans Saints News

News » Saints release veteran tackle Thomas

Saints release veteran tackle Thomas

Saints release veteran tackle Thomas
The Saints continued to overhaul their defense Wednesday by taking a big chunk out of the defensive line.

They released veteran defensive tackle Hollis Thomas, 35, who was scheduled to earn $1.4 million this season.

The Saints also released veteran tackle Brian Young this week. They now have parted ways with five former defensive starters and their former defensive coordinator since last season.

"Hollis Thomas had a significant presence for us both on the defensive line and in the locker room for a number of years," Saints Coach Sean Payton said in a statement released by the team. "He has been a big part of what we have accomplished here."

Thomas, a gregarious media favorite who also served the role of class clown in the Saints' locker room, was not reached for comment.

The super-sized run-stuffer made a hefty impact on the Saints when he arrived in a draft-day trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2006. He helped lead the team to the NFC championship game that season. But his production steadily declined, and the team felt he didn't come into this year's offseason workout program in good shape.

Thomas, who is listed at 6 feet, 335 pounds, continually has battled weight and conditioning issues in recent years.

He started 30 games in his three seasons with the Saints , including the playoffs. He made 123 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks. He missed the first half of the 2008 season after tearing a tendon in his left triceps during training camp. He was released by the team, then re-signed when he got healthy.

Thomas finished the season with 10 tackles in limited action in eight games. He has 696 tackles and 22 sacks in 170 games, including eight in the playoffs, in his 13-year career with the Eagles and Saints .

The Saints are somewhat thin at the defensive tackle spot behind starters Sedrick Ellis and Kendrick Clancy. They're counting on two players who did not play last season -- second-year pro DeMario Pressley, who missed his rookie season with a foot injury, and former Falcons veteran Roderick Coleman, who signed with the Saints after spending a year away from Football.

They also have two-year veteran Remi Ayodele, who appeared in six games with the Saints last season. Veteran end Paul Spicer could play at tackle.

Although the Saints freed salary-cap space by releasing Young and Thomas, it doesn't necessarily indicate that they are angling to add a high-priced veteran in free agency. The moves have been anticipated for some time, and more likely the timing will allow them to add two more undrafted free agents to the roster.

Saints ADD HARRIS: Count Georgia receiver Kenneth Harris among that group of undrafted free agents who agreed to sign with the Saints , according to published reports. Harris, 6-3, 215 pounds, played sparingly in his career, but he did catch his lone touchdown pass in a victory over LSU last season.

He impressed scouts with his workout at Georgia's Pro Day, catching passes from No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford and running the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds.

. . . . . . .

Mike Triplett can be reached at mtriplett@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3405.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2009

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