|Saints cut Michael Lewis, Willie Whitehead|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 15 June 2007 11:59|
Lewis, a wide receiver and kick returner, was known as ``Beer Man'' because he drove a beer truck before getting a tryout with his hometown team and making the roster in 2001 at age 29. He soon became the team's star return man and wildly popular with fans.
``Michael is part of the fabric of our community and will always have a special place in the history of our club,'' Saints owner Tom Benson said in a statement. ``The way he made our team, as a player who worked hard, wasn't drafted, supported his family and followed his dream, is unique and something we're all proud to be a part of.''
Lewis departs as the Saints' career leader in kickoff returns (243 for 5,903 yards) and punt returns (142 for 1,482 yards). He has four touchdown returns - three on kickoffs and one punt return.
In 2002, he set team single-season records for kickoff return yardage (1,807) and punt return yards (625), was voted to the Pro Bowl and selected to the Associated Press All-Pro team. His 2,432 combined return yards that season set an NFL record.
Lewis injured his left knee in the 2005 season and missed much of 2006.
Whitehead, a defensive end, joined the Saints in 1999 after playing in NFL Europe. He had 266 tackles (168 solo), 24.5 sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries for the Saints.