The Indianapolis Colts have released Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis, the team announced Thursday morning. The move comes after a strange period in which the Colts reportedly tried to trade the two-time Pro Bowler, Davis was benched by Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, and a groin injury that has led to Davis having season-ending surgery.
According to SB Nation’s Stampede Blue, “Just yesterday Davis relayed to the media that he felt disrespected by the demotion as he felt it was voiced to the public by Chuck Pagano as a ‘coaches decision’, not based upon an injury — that hadn’t been noted on the injury report other than Davis’ weekly rest day — and that Pagano hadn’t been the messenger of the move. Davis had indeed been dealing with a groin injury that he stated was ‘significant’, but since returning to the lineup in Week 4 of this season, the assumption was that he was ready to go.”
Davis will turn 30 in May and said earlier this week, “Change is good,” when asked about his future with the Colts. He said after his demotion last week, “It should be more about the respect. I’m a professional ... I’ve been in (the league) long enough. When I look at the situation, I feel like there was no respect. Knowing Chuck, I figured it would come from him. It really bothered me.”
He then continued, "I had a groin tear that I dealt with... 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."
The Colts could be facing some issues from the league with their handling of the NFL injury reports, as Davis has not been reported on the weekly listing despite the groin problem. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Davis received multiple opinions on the state of his groin before opting for surgery.
Davis started his career with the Miami Dolphins as the team’s 2009 first-round draft choice. He spent three seasons in South Florida, recording nine interceptions with one touchdown, 31 passes defensed, one forced fumble, one sack, and 143 tackles in that span. He was traded to the Colts before the 2012 season, a move that was shown during the Dolphins’ season on HBO’s Hard Knocks. In Indianapolis, he recorded 13 interceptions with 75 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one sack, and 264 tackles. He was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
If Davis fully recovers from his groin injury, he could be an interesting free agent target for the Dolphins for 2018. Cordrea Tankersley and Xavien Howard appear to be entrenched as the starters, but a player like Davis could provide veteran depth for the position. Miami cannot afford to break the bank for a player like Davis, but bringing him back to South Florida to end his career where it started might not be a bad move.