Tight end Jeremy Shockey, 30, was released Tuesday by the New Orleans Saints.
NEW ORLEANS — For flamboyant tight end Jeremy Shockey, the party is over — at least in New Orleans.
Shockey was released Tuesday by the Saints, who appear ready to move on with promising second-year pro Jimmy Graham. Graham was drafted in the third round last year.
Shockey was no stranger to the Big Easy social scene and also helped give New Orleans a reason to celebrate like never before. He made a crucial touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the Saints’ lone Super Bowl victory, a 31-17 decision over Indianapolis a little more than a year ago.
But with one season and $4.2 million in base salary left on Shockey’s contract, the Saints decided the best way to pursue a second championship would be without the 30-year-old, nine-year veteran.
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“Jeremy played an important role in helping our team bring a Super Bowl championship to New Orleans,” coach Sean Payton said. “He contributed to the success of our offense, both as a pass-catcher and run blocker, and we’re appreciative of his efforts.”
Acquired from the New York Giants in a trade at the onset of 2008 training camp, Shockey spent three up-and-down seasons in New Orleans and labored through injuries in all of them. Last season, Shockey made 41 catches for 408 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games.
Shockey’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not answer his phone, but Shockey posted a note on his Twitter page: “Always will remember my time in New Orleans. What a city, you all welcomed me like one of your own, and we had a great run. Onto the next chapter, the Deep Unknown.”
Shockey, a former Miami Hurricanes college standout who makes his offseason home in Miami’s South Beach, is an adventure traveler and avid free diver.
Shockey has 510 receptions for 5,688 yards and 33 touchdowns in his pro career.
• Federally mediated negotiations between the league and the players’ union have stretched 35 hours over five consecutive days — and they aren’t done.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and members of their bargaining teams met for about eight hours Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
Participants were told by mediator George Cohen not to discuss the talks publicly. The sides agreed to try mediation in a bid to find common ground before the labor deal expires March 3.
• Denver signed cornerback Champ Bailey to a four-year deal believed to be worth from $40 million to $44 million. Bailey, 32, has played in 10 Pro Bowls.
• Cornerback Ronde Barber, 35, will return for a 15th season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He signed a one-year contract.
Barber is the team’s career interceptions leader and has made 183 consecutive starts; the only active player with a longer streak is Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.
• The Carolina Panthers placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Ryan Kalil, 25, a two-time Pro Bowl center. The move will help keep the core of the offensive line intact but will also make running back DeAngelo Williams and defensive end Charles Johnson unrestricted free agents.
Kalil will be offered a one-year contract worth more than $10 million.
• The Cleveland Browns placed their franchise tag on kicker Phil Dawson, 36, the only player remaining from Cleveland’s 1999 expansion squad.
Dawson, the first player franchised by the Browns since their return, will make $3.25 million next season.