The Pittsburgh Steelers plan to release linebacker and defensive captain James Farrior, ending a 10-year tenure with the National Football League team that included two Super Bowl titles and two Pro Bowl selections.
Farrior, 37, will be released prior to the March 13 start of NFL free agency, team President Art Rooney II said yesterday on the team’s website. The cut is the latest involving a long- serving member of the Steelers, who are trying to get under the NFL’s payroll limit.
A Pro Bowl selection in 2004 and 2008 and captain for the past eight years, Farrior won Super Bowl championships with the Steelers following the 2005 and 2008 seasons. Pittsburgh’s defense has finished in the league’s top five for fewest yards allowed six times since 2004.
“He has been a leader for our defense on the field and an ambassador for the Steelers in the community,” Rooney said. “We appreciate everything James has done and truly wish him nothing but the best.”
Selected in the first round of the 1997 NFL draft by the New York Jets, Farrior played five seasons in New York before joining the Steelers. He had 78 tackles and two sacks in 14 games last season, after 109 tackles and six sacks in 2010.
Farrior’s release is the latest move the Steelers have made to get under the 2012 salary cap, which is estimated to be around $120 million, according to ESPN. By cutting players such as Farrior, receiver Hines Ward, defensive end Aaron Smith, guard Chris Kemoeatu and cornerback Bryant McFadden, the team has gone from $25 million over the cap to roughly $10 million under it, according to the Walt Disney Co. sports unit.
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