Former Sooner Garrett Hartley Released By New Orleans

The New Orleans Saints released kicker and former playoff hero Garrett Hartley on Tuesday, ending his turbulent six-year tenure with the team.

Although Saints coach Sean Payton had stuck with Hartley through some previous rough patches, Hartley's two missed field goals in a 27-16 loss at St. Louis last week turned out to be the last straw.

Hartley, 27, made 22 of 30 field goal attempts this season (a career-low 73 percent). He was on the hot seat earlier this year when he missed four out of six field-goal attempts. But he had temporarily righted the ship before this past Sunday. He had a low 36-yard attempt blocked, then shanked a 26-yarder wide left.

Cutting Hartley was obviously no small decision for Payton.

Hartley made arguably the four biggest kicks in Saints history during the 2009-2010 Super Bowl run -- a 40-yarder in overtime of the NFC Championship Game, followed by three kicks of more than 40 yards in Super Bowl XLIV. (ESPN)
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