The rebuilding Indianapolis Colts cut five players on Friday, including popular tight end Dallas Clark and running back Joseph Addai just two days after releasing franchise quarterback Peyton Manning.
Linebacker Gary Brackett, safety Melvin Bullitt, and backup quarterback Curtis Painter also had their contracts terminated by the Colts, the National Football League (NFL) team said.
"These players all made tremendous contributions to the organization and will forever be members of the Colts family," Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a statement.
"It's always difficult to make these decisions, which the nature of the salary cap requires.
Clark, who was taken by the Colts in first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, is the franchise leader for touchdowns by a tight end (46) and was one of Manning's favorite targets.
Addai, a first round draft pick in 2006, was the workhouse in the Colts' backfield for most of his six seasons with the team, rushing for 4,453 yards and 39 touchdowns along with 1,448 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Like Clark, Addai was a key member of Colts championship team but had also been slowed by injuries rushing for 433 yards and one touchdown last year.
Brackett spent nine seasons with the Colts and totaled 754 tackles with 12 interceptions while Bullitt, a defensive captain the past three seasons, was a member of the Colts for five seasons recording 189 tackles and seven interceptions.
Painter started eight games for the Colts last season as the team scrambled to find a solution to their offense with Manning out for the entire campaign after neck surgery.
Indianapolis have the first pick in the April 26-28 NFL Draft, where highly-touted Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck is widely expected to be the top choice.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)