ATLANTA -- Warrick Dunn was released by the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, one day after the club signed free agent running back Michael Turner.
Last season, Dunn became the 22nd back in NFL history to rush for 10,000 yards. But his days in Atlanta were numbered after the Falcons doled out a six-year contract to Turner, reportedly for $34.5 million with about $15 million guaranteed.
But the 11-year veteran found little room to run after the Falcons fired coach Jim Mora and brought in Bobby Petrino. Dunn rushed for just 720 yards and averaged 3.2 yards per carry during a dismal 4-12 season, which was marred by Michael Vick's dogfighting case and Petrino's sudden resignation 13 games into his debut season.
With a new coach and general manager, the Falcons decided to go for a younger running back, signing Turner to a team with 24-year-old Jerious Norwood.
"The legacy he leaves in Atlanta will be long-remembered and appreciated by his fellow players, fans and the community," Atlanta owner Arthur Blank said. "In my mind, Warrick will always be part of the Falcons family."
Dunn spent six seasons with the Falcons, finishing as the third-leading rusher in franchise history with 5,979 yards. He was nearly as well known for his charitable work, most notably the "Home For The Holidays" program that helped single parents become first-time homeowners by making the down payment on new furnished homes.
In 2004, Dunn received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.
Dunn plans to sign with a playoff contender, according to NFL Network's Adam Schefter. At least three teams already are eyeing him, including possibly Tampa Bay and Indianapolis. Dunn spent his first five seasons playing for Tampa Bay, and his head coach with the Bucs is current Colts head coach Tony Dungy.
Dunn's final season with the Falcons was largely forgettable. Vick's legal troubles robbed the team of one of its best running threats, and the offensive line struggled to adapt to Petrino's blocking scheme.
But Dunn did join an exclusive club in Week 12, reaching 10,000 yards in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts. For his career, he has 2,484 carries for 10,179 yards and 47 touchdowns, along with 463 receptions for 4,009 yards and 15 TDs.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press