Holliday: 'There's no loyalty in this league'

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Vonnie Holliday isn't disappointed or disillusioned.

Still, the veteran defensive end thought he deserved better from the Miami Dolphins.

Holliday, an 11-year pro and team captain, was cut loose by the Dolphins on Monday.

"There's no loyalty in this league," Holliday told me while driving around the Atlanta area, where he resides. "Everybody throws that word around, but at the end of the day, it's a business. It's about numbers.

"I've seen it happen in this business before. I've been around a long time. Now I'm that guy. But I have no hard feelings towards the Dolphins."

The move was made mostly for financial reasons. Holliday was due a $1.5 million roster bonus Tuesday. His salary-cap number for this season would have been $5.75 million.

But Holliday hoped to rework his contract so he could remain with the Dolphins. He had two years remaining on the deal he signed in February 2007, but he said his contract was "cap-friendly."

He said Dolphins football operations boss Bill Parcells presented what Holliday believed to be an initial offer on a reworked contract. No negotiations followed.

"Bill and I talked about the initial offer," Holliday said. "I told him where I stand, thought we would butt heads and eventually come together on something we both could live with -- at least be offered a chance to say 'This is it. This is the final offer.' But it never happened.

"I thought things would have played out a little differently. You're talking about a guy who was one of the team leaders there. At the end of the day, I had no idea ... This isn't how I expected it to play out or how I envisioned it."

Holliday led all Dolphins defensive linemen with 46 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

The 19th overall pick in the 1998 draft also spent five seasons with the Green Bay Packers and two with the Kansas City Chiefs.

"These types of decisions are always difficult ones, especially with someone like Vonnie, who has been a role model both on the field and off it," Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said in a statement. "He was one of our captains last year and was a proven leader, not just in his tenure with the Dolphins, but throughout his 11-year career.

"We are grateful for all his contributions to the Miami Dolphins organization and we want to wish him and his family the best of luck in the future."

Holliday wasn't naïve. He said he realized when the Dolphins last year drafted Phillip Merling with the 32nd pick and Kendall Langford with the 66th pick they eventually would phase him out.

But after enduring a 1-15 campaign in 2008 and then being a leader on a team that one year later won the AFC East title, he admitted that being shown the door stung.

"I was a standup guy on and off the field," Holliday said. "I thought that would stand for something, especially on a young team. I've been tutoring these guys.

"I thought I was a part of this plan. I felt like I was the guy that always did it the right way. At the end of the day, they can't take anything away from that."