INDIANAPOLIS — The soap-opera drama surrounding the Indianapolis Colts and cornerback Vontae Davis has come to an end with his release, the team announced Thursday.
Releasing Davis, who was scheduled to be a free agent after the season, avoids any further distraction to what’s been a bizarre six days between him the Colts. The Colts will have to pay the remaining portion of Davis’ $9 million base salary this season if he goes unclaimed on waivers.
A source had confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday night that Davis, after seeking second medical opinions, made the choice to undergo season-ending groin surgery.
The recommendation that Davis undergo surgery was first reported by the Indianapolis Star.
Earlier Wednesday, Davis said he felt disrespected by how the Colts handled his being left behind for last weekend’s game at Houston.
The Colts sent out an announcement Saturday saying that Davis would not make the trip for their game against the Texans the next day. The email said Davis’ situation was “non-injury related.” Coach Chuck Pagano repeated several times after the game that leaving Davis behind was a coach’s decision.
Davis had a different version of the events. Davis said he hasn’t played well this season because he’s still dealing with the groin injury he suffered against Pittsburgh in the third preseason game that caused him to miss the first three weeks of the regular season.
“I had a groin tear that I dealt with,” Davis said. “I got different opinions on it. One doctor said I should have had surgery, other doctor told me to let it heal. I took the let-it-heal approach. I came back, and probably came back a little too early, and in the process I probably hurt my teammates.”
When asked why Pagano said it was a non-injury situation, Davis said, “I can’t really control what Coach P said.”
Davis made his comments inside the locker room after Pagano had already addressed the media Wednesday.
Davis has been listed on the injury report just twice since Week 4, both days listed as “rest days.”
Pierre Desir started in Davis’ place against the Texans and is expected to continue to start with Rashaan Melvin at cornerback.
Davis was told last week that he was being demoted by defensive coordinator Ted Monachino and defensive backs coach Greg Williams, not by Pagano.
“It’s a disagreement because I feel like I was demoted because of my health instead of my ability,” Davis said. “The agreement is I take full responsibility. I’m not myself. I’m not Vontae Davis. Obviously I know what level I can play at. I’ve been working trying to get back like with previous injuries, but it’s not working.”
The Colts failed to trade Davis, a two-time Pro Bowler, prior to the trade deadline last week. He has only 16 solo tackles with just two passes defended this season.
In 120 career games spanning nine seasons with the Colts and Dolphins, Davis made 112 starts with 399 tackles and 22 interceptions.