- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

From combined dispatches

Marvin Harrison’s agent said Monday the Indianapolis Colts agreed to release him in a salary cap move.

Harrison, who is second in NFL career receptions, turns 37 in August and is coming off the least productive noninjury-plagued season of his 13-year career. Cutting him could save the Colts about $6 million on next season’s salary cap.

Agent Tom Condon said the receiver expects the Colts to make the announcement Tuesday or Wednesday. The team declined comment.

Harrison caught 112 of his 128 career touchdowns from Peyton Manning, making them the top receiver-quarterback tandem in league history. Harrison has played his whole career with the Colts but has increasingly become the team’s second receiver behind Reggie Wayne.

The Colts are trying to re-sign several veterans, including three-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday and running back Dominic Rhodes. It is not a surprising move given Harrison’s salary cap charge this season would have been $13.4 million, the highest of any receiver in the league.

But the move would rankle Colts fans, who embraced Harrison as a fan favorite and was one of the identifiable players in the Colts’ Indianapolis era.

Harrison has 1,102 career receptions, trailing only Jerry Rice.

VIKINGS: Six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk has been told that Minnesota wants him back, and that desire is mutual. Whether the Vikings and Birk can agree on a contract to keep him with his hometown team has yet to be determined.

But with the beginning of free agency looming late Thursday, the situation has an optimistic tone to it.

“It’s nice to be wanted,” Birk said. “We’ll see what’s out there. I’m just weighing all my options.”

Coach Brad Childress and Birk talked last week, however, and the coach assured the player he is welcome back if the contract works out. Birk’s agent, Joe Linta, also spoke with Vikings vice presidents Rob Brzezinski and Rick Spielman at the league’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. Birk said the meeting was “encouraging,” and Childress told reporters at the combine he would love to have the 32-year-old snapping the ball again in 2009.

Also, former Vikings great Carl Eller was sentenced Monday to 60 days in the county workhouse for resisting Minneapolis police officers after a traffic stop, a punishment that went beyond prosecutors’ recommendations.

Hennepin County District Judge Dan Mabley denied a request from Eller’s attorney to delay the sentence during an appeal and immediately ordered Eller into custody.

In January, Mabley convicted the 67-year-old of fourth-degree assault of a police officer and second-degree refusal to submit to chemical testing, both gross misdemeanors. On Monday, Mabley fined Eller $1,500 on each charge.

LIONS: Dan Orlovsky said he’s confident free agency will be better for him than accepting an offer to be a backup quarterback for Detroit.

Orlovsky said he plans to test the market because he wants to compete for a job instead of being relegated to reserve status behind Daunte Culpepper.

The Lions drafted Orlovsky in the fifth round of the 2005 draft, and he played in two games as a rookie. After sitting behind Jon Kitna for two seasons, he started seven games and played in 10 for the NFL’s first 0-16 team.

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