DENVER (AP) -Broncos linebacker Al Wilson's heart tells him he can still play football. His neck is a different story.
The Broncos released the five-time Pro Bowl player Friday because of a combination of injury and salary cap concerns. Wilson, who injured his neck against Seattle on Dec. 3, was scheduled to make $5.2 million in base salary this season.
A Broncos spokesman declined comment and an e-mail to Denver general manager Ted Sundquist wasn't returned.
Wilson, who was informed by the team Thursday night he'd be cut, had no bitter feelings toward the team.
``My time is up as a Bronco,'' the eight-year veteran said. ``It's time to move forward and try something else. You have to do what's best for your organization, just like a Fortune 500 company. Sometimes you have to let good employees go.''
Wilson has been the defensive captain for the last six seasons. He led the team in tackles last season with 113.
However, he was plagued by injuries in the second half of 2006. Wilson hurt his neck running into teammate Gerard Warren on a tackle against the Seahawks and had to be carted off the field as the crowd gave him an ovation and chanted his name.
And while he played the next three weeks, Wilson didn't participate in the season finale against San Francisco due to thumb and back injuries. The loss knocked Denver out of a playoff spot.
``I've had a great time here,'' Wilson said. ``I feel like I've got a few more good years in me, too.''
He was nearly dealt to the New York Giants earlier this spring. However, he failed a physical and the Giants backed out of the trade.
``I was looking forward to a new opportunity,'' Wilson said. ``There are 31 other teams out there.''
But his neck remains a concern. Wilson won't play again until doctors clear him. Wilson claims doctors say his neck is getting better.
``If I can get medically cleared, hey, I'm going to go out and play,'' Wilson said. ``I feel like I still can play. It's not about the money. I'll only get out there and play if I'm healthy.''
Peter Schaffer, Wilson's agent, wouldn't discuss the exact nature of Wilson's neck injury.
Wilson played the following week after he injured his neck against division rival San Diego. Asked if he came back too soon from the injury, he paused as his eyes stared at his folded hands.
``Maybe I should've sat out a week or two,'' Wilson said. ``The competitive nature in me, I wanted to compete.''
Wilson had a good parting conversation with Broncos coach Mike Shanahan on Thursday.
``I wish him nothing but the best,'' Wilson said.
Yet there's still the side of him that wants to prove cutting him was a bad decision.
``You definitely have that in the back of your mind,'' Wilson said. ``You definitely want to prove people wrong. You want to go out and show people you can still compete. If I'm able to get back out there, and the doctors say I can do it, you'll see me out there flying around.''
Wilson was the undisputed leader in the locker room and even spoke at the funerals for cornerback Darrent Williams and running Damien Nash. Williams and Nash both died in the offseason at age 24.
The fact Wilson was a no-show at the Broncos' offseason conditioning program in early April was taken as an ominous sign by teammates. Cornerback Domonique Foxworth took the Broncos shopping Wilson around as a wake-up call.
``It tells you everybody is expendable in this business,'' Foxworth said at the time. ``I don't think anybody in this organization will say that we're better off without his personality around. For whatever reasons they felt we'll be better off going in a different direction.''
If Wilson's neck injury prevents him from playing again, he said he's at peace with his accomplishments. He has 21.5 career sacks and five interceptions.
``I have no regrets,'' said Wilson, the Broncos' first-round pick in the 1999 draft out of Tennessee. ``I gave them all I had. I can walk away with my head held high.''
Schaffer thinks Wilson's tenure in Denver will one day be rewarded.
``I believe he's done enough to have No. 56 on the Ring of Fame someday,'' Schaffer said of the ring around Invesco Field that honors former players and administrators. ``That's immortality right there. He's definitely a player who's earned that right.''
But Wilson isn't ready to close the door on his career just yet. Neck willing, he still wants to play.
``It's time for a change,'' he said of his release. ``I'm not sad. I'm not mad. I'm looking forward to the next step.''

Recent NFL Discussions

Public buries sports books on Tue, Jan 2017 by Timmy1961
Pick Wiz Play 1/15 on Mon, Jan 2017 by Michael Cash
2nd half play ne/hou on Mon, Jan 2017 by Strakey
NFL Championship Betting News and Notes on Mon, Jan 2017 by Blade
NFL WKEND SIDES &OV/UN 8-0 on Mon, Jan 2017 by armyranger

Top NFL Public Bets


NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated NFL MVP Odds Heading into Championship Sunday, Matt Ryan is a clear favorite to take home this season's NFL MVP Award.
Thumbnail Championship Sunday Vegas Spreads How do Las Vegas oddsmakers view this weekend's championship games in the NFL?
Thumbnail Updated Super Bowl LI Betting Odds And then there were four. What are the odds of the four remaining teams to win this year's Super Bowl?
Thumbnail Pats Open as 6-Point Faves vs. Steelers The Patriots will host the Steelers in the 2017 AFC Championship Game and have opened as nearly touchdown favorites for next Sunday's...
Thumbnail Falcons open as favorites vs. Pack The Falcons will host the Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game, where Atlanta has opened as a small favorite.

NFL Team Pages