Jon Jansen, a fixture on the Washington Redskins' offensive line for much of the last decade before injuries took their toll, was cut by the team on Friday.
Jansen was released after a morning meeting with owner Dan Snyder, front office chief Vinny Cerrato and coach Jim Zorn. Jansen and his wife were flown in Snyder's plane from their Michigan offseason home to Redskins Park, where the 33-year-old lineman was offered the chance to retire as a Redskins player.
"He means a lot to me, truly," Zorn said. "He's been a tremendous part of this program. I didn't want to just call him up and go, 'Hey, I'm cutting you today.'"
When Jansen said he wanted to keep playing, the team granted him his release, saying goodbye to a strong locker-room leader and the longest-tenured Redskin on the roster rather than keep him as an expensive backup.
"What I had to do was weigh all those things together," Zorn said. "And I will tell you, it didn't come easy."
A ruptured Achilles' tendon in 2004, two broken thumbs in 2005, a torn calf muscle in 2006, a broken ankle in 2007 and a sprained knee in 2008 kept him off the field and hindered his skills. Jansen temporarily lost his starting job to Stephon Heyer last year, but he returned for this year's offseason workouts and organized team activities determined to show he could still play at a high level.
"He was going to prove to everybody that he could make the Pro Bowl and be an All-Pro player, and that's what we were hoping for as well," Zorn said. "At the minicamp and the OTAs, I didn't see that."
"My response was I would have hoped for a better chance at the OTAs and the minicamp and maybe some more reps," Jansen said in a telephone interview as he headed to the airport for the flight home. "I think that their mind was made up prior to that, and that's OK. I just wish it would have happened a little sooner. ... There would have been more jobs available, more money available."
Jansen, a second-round draft pick from Michigan in 1999, had two years remaining on a five-year, $23 million contract extension he signed in 2007. He said his agent has already heard from several teams.
"I'm not concerned about having a job," Jansen said. "I know I'll be able to land on my feet somewhere."
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Lions have agreed to a one-year deal with Jansen, pending a physical that is scheduled for Monday.
Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.