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Junior Galette-Saints relationship soured quickly


The New Orleans Saints stunned the football world last week when it was learned they planned to release linebacker Junior Galette, a team captain who had signed a $41 million extension with the team months earlier.

In truth, the two sides had been heading toward a divorce from the moment the pen went to paper. This weekend, The Times-Picayune offered up a comprehensive look at what went wrong. In the report, Galette is described as a poor teammate who "thought being captain was more so about status on the team instead of being a leader on and off the field," according to one source.

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"He stayed focused long enough to get paid, then the real Junior came out," said a source. "Sad."

The Saints' locker room was described as "sour" and Galette was criticized for not leading in the same way past Saints captains had. Galette and defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick -- who is no longer with the team -- got in a fist fight before a preseason game. When teammates voted Galette as captain days later, some front-office officials scratched their heads.

Galette's contract -- a four-year, $41.5 million extension signed last September -- also led to issues in the locker room. According to The Times-Picayune, Galette's deal "rankled some teammates and some Saints coaches" who thought that's Galette's behavior began to worsen as soon as he signed the deal. Multiple team sources said the team privately held "buyer's remorse" soon after the signing.

The league is looking into two off-the-field incidents by Galette and the Saints have grown increasingly frustrated with him. Galette was arrested on domestic violence and simple battery charges in January; the charges were eventually dropped. Galette recently met with NFL officials, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Ultimately, the Saints decided they were better off without one of their best defensive players, despite the financial hit that came with the release.

The Saints will incur a $5.45 million cap hit in 2015 followed by a monster $12.1 million hit in 2016.

The Times-Picayune reported that Galette passed his physical on Monday and will be formally released shortly. Reports popped up on Monday morning of Galette using Twitter to harshly criticize Saints players and officials, including coach Sean Payton, though the tweets did not come from Galette's account.

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