Darren Sproles thanked New Orleans for the support of its fan base the past three years shortly into Friday’s early evening hours.
Lance Moore’s thank you Tweet came early in the morning, less than three hours after the sun had broken the Eastern horizon.
It’s the fan base, however, that would likely enjoy dishing out a thank you to both.
Moore’s release by the New Orleans Saints was made official on the league’s transaction wire in the afternoon. And while Sproles wasn’t officially handed his pink slip according to the league, his tweet all but stated the obvious.
Both played integral parts in the Saints’ recent run of success.
They were fan favorites, Moore for his love of the touchdown dance and Sproles for his lightning quick moves in the open field. Neither were off-the-field trouble and both were problems for opponents on it.
But both also had shown what most of us already have known – age and injury can slow down even the best.
Moore was used a third less this past season, inactive for three weeks with a hand injury. Only against St. Louis in Week 15 did we see the Saints use Moore like we’re used to seeing. His frustration could be heard in his late-season quotes, when he was much more honest than many of the players normally are in talking with media.
For Sproles, a concussion and concurrent knee and ankle injuries slowed him down. He finished with just 251 yards rushing and 667 yards receiving, down from his record-breaking 2011 totals of 657 yards rushing and 877 yards receiving to go with 1,181 kick return yards.
Still, both were loved by those who cheered on the Black and Gold as well as those inside the locker room. Even when they're long gone, they'll be remembered and appreciated.
In the NFL nowadays, however, it’s not about love or adoration. It’s about cap space and results.
The Saints are showing one thing in this offseason that change and it’s that they’re willing to make the tough decisions that hurt.
With Seattle and San Francisco showing no signs of coming back to the pack and Carolina emerging as a possible annual division contender, the Saints had to make moves.
They went with a youth movement on defense in 2013.
Now it’s time for the offense.