Alfred Morris prepares for Redskins exit with message to the fans

If this is indeed the end, Alfred Morris will exit having rushed for 4,713 yards in his four seasons with Washington. Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins have acknowledged that Alfred Morris' return might not happen. And Morris himself said as much in an interview with ESPN earlier this week.

But Morris took it one more step by posting what can be viewed as a goodbye and thank you message to the fans on his Instagram account Saturday.

Some of this he stated in the interview with Michael Rothstein at the NFL Business Academy at the University of Michigan. But the last line of his Instagram post certainly sounds like someone who isn’t confident in his return.

Here’s what he posted in full: “Man the last 4 years have flown by. I've met a lot of great people, made a lot of great memories, and was given countless opportunities to live my dream and better myself and my family. With the unknown getting closer I just wanted to take a second and thank the entire @Redskins organization for an amazing four years. From Mr. Dan Snyder to Mrs. B.J Blanchard who works the front desk and always greets everyone with a smile. No matter what happens I will always be a part of #RedskinsNation and a special thanks to all the fans and their abundance of love, support, and loyalty y'all make this game what is #HTTR”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone: In January, the sense based on talking to people inside the organization was that he would be gone. Team president Bruce Allen even said that Morris would test the open market and if he didn’t find something he liked that he might return. At the scouting combine last month, coach Jay Gruden said it was not a foregone conclusion that Morris was gone, though several sources privately said his return was unlikely.

The scenario in which he could return: If Morris doesn’t find what he likes in free agency and the Redskins don’t find another back. If that happens then they could be reunited. But Morris likely will be viewed as a good option by some team that does not want to pay bigger money for backs such as Chris Ivory, Lamar Miller or Doug Martin.

If this is indeed the end, Morris will exit having rushed for 4,713 yards in his four seasons with Washington. He set the franchise rushing record as a rookie with 1,613 yards. But his production declined in each of the next three seasons, falling to 751 yards in a split role with Matt Jones this season. The run blocking was inconsistent at best, but the Redskins also wanted their backs to create more for themselves.

As much as the yards, though, Morris was popular for his persona; he was a sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic who mingled with workers before games and drove the same car he used in college (though he did have it spruced up eventually).

Morris’ popularity didn’t wane, so if he leaves it’ll be a tough one for many: his post had 3,490 likes as of early Sunday morning.