FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Falcons Friday started their offseason rebuilding program by releasing several veterans, including four-time Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler.
Joining the seven-year veteran were defensive tackle Rod Coleman; quarterback Byron Leftwich; left tackle Wayne Gandy, cornerback Lewis Sanders, linebacker Marcus Wilkins and wide receiver Jamin Elliott.
"This is a difficult day for the entire organization," said new General Manager Thomas Dimitroff in a statement released by the team through the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "A number of these players have contributed to this organization on and off the field at a high level and we greatly appreciate their efforts. These decisions weren't easy, but we felt they were necessary to build a team in the long-term best interest of the Falcons and their fans."
Crumpler, a second-round pick out of East Carolina in 2001, scored 35 touchdowns after 216 receptions for 4,212 yards and is the only tight end to lead the team in receiving yards and receptions three straight seasons.