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On the same day that Donavan McNabb says he wants to hold off on signing a contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles until he sees what they do to improve themselves in the off-season, Marvin Harrison says he wants to be released from the Indianapolis Colts.
According to reports, the Colts will grant him that release this week.
It would be easy to tie these two stories together. Harrison, after all, is from Philadelphia and lives there in the off-season. He was a former teammate of McNabb's at Syracuse and would give the quarterback his most accomplished target since Terrell Owens. The Eagles, who have only had one 1,000-yard receiver (Kevin Curtis) since Owens left the Eagles in 2005, have been looking for a go-to receiver ever since.
The problem is Harrison isn't a go-to receiver anymore. He might not even be a great secondary receiver at this point in his career. He is probably the third or fourth best receiver on the Colts' roster behind Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Anthony Gonzalez. He might go down as one of the greatest receivers ever but those days are nothing more than a distant memory for a player who will be 37 before the season starts.
It makes sense that Harrison would ask for his release. It's basically the equivalent of a coach graciously resigning before he gets fired. While the Colts would like to keep Harrison around, there was no way they were going to pay him anywhere near the $13.4 million he had coming his way this season. Considering what he's done the past two seasons, they wouldn't even pay him half that figure.
Harrison has missed 12 games and has fewer than 1,000 yards during the past two seasons combined. He hasn't had a 1,000-yard season or a 100-yard game since 2006.
Not only is Harrison a bad fit for Philadelphia, which would be better off focusing on the development of its young receivers such as DeSean Jackson and Hank Baskett, he would be a bad fit for any team that thinks it will get the Harrison from three years ago. That player is as finished as are the careers of the other receivers drafted in the first round along with Harrison in 1996 such as Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, Eddie Kennison and Eric Moulds.
Harrison's career isn't over. He'll likely play another season or two, but chances are it won't be for a team outside of Indianapolis. That is unless some team is more enamored with Harrison's name and legacy rather than what he can still do on the field. The best case scenario for him would be re-signing with the Colts and finishing his career where he started it 13 years ago, which in today's league is almost as impressive as any receiving record Harrison has.