The Pittsburgh Steelers released Larry Foote on Monday, less than one week after the seven-year veteran linebacker said he didn't expect to be with the team much longer.
Foote started in every Steelers game for the past five seasons, including their Super Bowl XL and XLIII victories. But he was unhappy about coming off the field on passing downs for Lawrence Timmons, a 2007 first-round draft pick who's expected to replace Foote as the starter next season.
"Larry has been a big part of our success, but unfortunately, the realities of the salary cap made this decision inevitable," Kevin Colbert, the Steelers' director of football operations, said in a statement released by the team. "We wish Larry and his family nothing but the best as he moves forward with his career."
Foote said last Tuesday that Colbert told him the Steelers were trying to trade him but would release the linebacker if that didn't work out. However, Colbert called reports that Foote would be traded or released "erroneous."
The Steelers held their first post-draft minicamp last weekend, but Foote didn't attend, and his teammates talked about him as if he wouldn't return.
The Steelers needed salary-cap relief after signing Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison to a six-year, $51.7 million deal earlier this offseason, so they reworked the contracts of cornerback Ike Taylor and wide receiver Hines Ward. Foote was scheduled to earn $2.885 million next season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.