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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, November 09, 2017 12:30 pm

Colts release Vontae Davis after publicly airing complaints

MICHAEL MAROT | Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts released two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis on Thursday, less than 24 hours after Davis took his complaints about the organization public.

Davis said Wednesday he felt disrespected by the way the Colts handled his demotion and that he wasn't playing at his typically high level because of a groin injury that hadn't completely healed.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard told a local sports talk show Wednesday that the Colts were unaware the injury had lingered and Davis was probably speaking out of frustration because he hadn't played up to his usually high standards the last couple of weeks.

Coach Chuck Pagano has only said that Davis stayed home last weekend because of a coach's decision. Pagano spoke to reporters before Davis did on Wednesday, and Pagano is not scheduled to take questions again until Friday.

When the Colts announced Saturday that Davis did not travel with the team to Houston, the official designation was "non-injury related."

That bothered Davis, who claimed he got hurt in the Colts' third preseason game at Pittsburgh and returned to game action four weeks later.

But Davis also was upset that he wasn't told personally by Pagano, who attended his wedding two years ago, and was instead informed by defensive coordinator Ted Monachino.

"It should be more about the respect. I'm a professional," Davis said. "I've been in (the league) long enough. When I look at the situation, I feel like there was no respect. Knowing Chuck, I figured it would come from him. It really bothered me."

The Colts issued no other comment. Coordinators and players are expected to take questions later Thursday.

If Davis clears waivers, he will become a free agent sooner than he expected. The 29-year-old Davis was in the final year of a $36 million contract.

And just one week after Davis told reporters he would be a longtime Colts fan, he made it clear he didn't expect to be back next season — largely because of the latest spat.

"Right now, change is good," Davis said. "That's how I'm going to leave it, change is good."

It's not the first time Davis has dealt with bad news.

He also was demoted during training camp in 2012 for not being in shape to keep up with his Miami teammates. Three weeks later, he was traded from the Dolphins to the Colts.

Back then, both aired in full view of the public as part of the HBO series "Hard Knocks."

This time, he was upset about what went on behind closed doors.

Indy's longest-tenured defensive starter came into his sixth season eager to replace the retired Robert Mathis as the defensive leader. From the opening practices, coaches raved about his play.

Then he hurt his groin in the third preseason game at Pittsburgh and didn't return to game action until Oct. 1. Even now, Davis acknowledges, he's not himself.

He had only 21 tackles, no interceptions and two passes defensed this season.

"My tape isn't horrible, but my tape isn't me," Davis said.

In nine seasons, the first three with Miami, Davis has started 112 of 120 games, had 399 tackles, two sacks, 97 passes defensed and 22 interceptions, returning one for a score.