Sentimentality took another sack yesterday when the Colts released all-time sacks leader Dwight Freeney. And that -- the former, not necessarily the latter -- should have come as no shock to anyone.
That's because sentimentality enters into it not at all when we're talking the corporate monolith that is the NFL, and no one understands that better than the Colts. Their willingness to cut loose even beloved players before what the general public perceives to be their time is one of the main reasons they've been one of the league's most successful franchises for most of the last 15 years.
The teams that struggle are the teams that hang onto stickout players past their prime because the front office can't bear to let them go. Not so the Colts, who've sent even the likes of Marshall Faulk and Peyton Manning packing.
And so, Freeney. Great a player as he's been, and as synonymous with the Colts, he's a 33-year-old speed rusher who's going to get slower the older he gets. Which is why his sack numbers have steadily dropped the last few years, to a low of five last season.
Someone, no doubt, will pick him up. But his value may not be anywhere near what you, or he, might think it would be. Happens all the time in this league.
For Freeney's sake, let's hope he bucks that trend.