Colts release Pierre Desir


INDIANAPOLIS, IN – NOVEMBER 12: Pierre Desir #35 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates with Nate Hairston #27 against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Pierre Desir’s time with the Indianapolis Colts has ended.

The veteran cornerback, considered a defensive mainstay, has been released in what amounts to a salary-cap move. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the transaction.

Desir, 29, had developed into a defensive cornerstone since being claimed off waivers in September 2017. He signed a three-year, $25.5 million extension last offseason that included $12 million in guarantees.

In three seasons with the Colts, Desir appeared in 37 games, including 29 starts. He was limited to 12 games and 11 starts last season by injuries.

By releasing Desir, the Colts save $6.85 million against the salary cap. According to a source, the team has not closed the door on Desir returning.

His Indy career began with the waiver claim but quickly blossomed. Desir started six games in ’17 before appearing in all 16 games and starting 12 in ’18. That season, he was the leader of the secondary and finished with a career-high 79 tackles, one interception, and eight defended passes.

There would be no suitable encore.

Last season, Desir suffered a bruised bone in his knee that hampered him early, then dealt with a hamstring injury that forced him to miss four games in the middle of the season. Even when he returned, he didn’t seem to be 100 percent.

In January, Chris Ballard was asked if Desir’s subpar 2019 was a case of it just being a “down’’ year, or the injury.

“A little bit of both,’’ he said.

Desir clearly wasn’t himself after missing four games and returning for the week 12 game at Houston.

“The Houston game was tough because he practiced like three days in six weeks,’’ Ballard said. “Remember the hamstring, and three days in six weeks and he comes back that Thursday night and really off a week you don’t practice, and then all of a sudden he’s thrown into the mix (and) he has some struggles.

“When you have struggles in some of those big games, sometimes it steamrolls on you a little bit.’’

Along with jettisoning a starter on defense, the Colts are parting ways with one of their solid individuals. Desir was the team’s 2019 nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

The release of Desir cuts into the Colts’ experience at cornerback.

The remaining group includes Kenny Moore II, Quincy Wilson, Rock Ya-Sin and Marvell Tell III. Moore and Wilson have played three seasons. Ya-Sin and Tell were rookies last season.

Other corners: Lafayette Pitts, Jackson Porter and Picasso Nelson Jr.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51

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