The New Orleans Saints are set to release linebacker Junior Galette, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Galette has been a productive player for the Saints, but he has had a rocky offseason which included an arrest and the surfacing of a video which shows a man reported to be Galette striking a woman during a major brawl.
That video was posted on March 25, 2013 but the connection to Galette wasn't established until late June. At that point, the Saints released a statement saying they were aware of the video and that they sent it in to the league office, in addition to waiting to see what the league office said about it.
Galette's attorney, Ralph Whalen, insisted that it was not Galette on the video. There is no statement from the Saints on Galette's release at this time, so it's unclear if it's related to that video. That said, they had Galette signed through the 2019 season, a deal worth $41.5 million with $23 million guaranteed. The 27-year-old pass-rusher was set to be a big contributor this season.
Galette recently met with NFL officials who are looking into his off-field incidents, and the Saints have been "frustrated for awhile," according to another tweet from Rapoport.
Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune spoke to Galette, who was upset about getting released, but determined to catch on with a new team:
Talked to Junior Galette on release: "The worst call they've ever made. It was a terrible call to kick me when I'm down." More coming...— Evan Woodbery (@TheSaintsBeat) July 24, 2015
Junior Galette: "The business is the business, you know? ... Like Vito Corleone said, 'Watch for the traitors.'"— Evan Woodbery (@TheSaintsBeat) July 24, 2015
Junior Galette says he'll play this year: "I'm in the best shape of my life....My reaction is that I've never felt better."— Evan Woodbery (@TheSaintsBeat) July 24, 2015
The Saints won't make it official until Galette takes and passes a physical, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Galette has been dealing with a pectoral injury this offseason, but the Saints were, before all of this news broke, optimistic that he would be ready for training camp.
In January, Galette was arrested for domestic violence, though the charge was later dropped. The woman involved in the incident filed a civil suit against Galette the same day the charge was dismissed. There has been no movement in that case since March.
Galette, who has played his entire career with the Saints, had already been paid $18 million under the new contract he signed last September. Last season, he totaled 45 tackles, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles.