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Saints cut Carney loose

New Orleans kicker John Carney, the 19-year veteran who starred as the Saints' placement specialist, was cut loose by the team Thursday after asking for his release. The move, which makes Carney a free agent, came only two days after the Saints on Tuesday acquired kicker Olindo Mare from the Miami Dolphins for a sixth-round draft choice.

General manager Mickey Loomis and Carney's agent both confirmed the veteran kicker had asked to be released.

"This is something we were sensitive to because he has been an important part of the Saints and the community during his time in New Orleans," Loomis said. "We will always have a lot of respect for John as a person and a player."

Carney would like to continue his career, but at his age -- he will turn 43 this month -- that might be difficult. In acquiring Mare, the Saints added a kicker who is nearly 10 years younger than Carney and is viewed as among the NFL's top field goal kickers.

Last year, ESPN.com reported that the Saints auditioned several kickers the week before the season started, because of concerns over Carney and his age. But they decided to keep Carney and he responded by converting 23 of 25 field goal attempts and all but one of his 47 extra point tries, for 115 points.

It marked the fifth time in six seasons with the Saints that Carney scored 100-plus points. For his career, Carney has 10 seasons of 100 or more points.

The former Notre Dame star, who entered the league in 1988, has converted 413 of 505 field goals and 510 of 517 extra points for 1,749 points. He kicked for Tampa Bay (1988-89), San Diego (1990-2000) and New Orleans (2001-06).

Also on Thursday, the Saints re-signed restricted free agent defensive tackle Rodney Leisle to a one-year, $850,000 contract. The former UCLA star, chosen by the Saints in the fifth round of the 2004 draft, has appeared in 17 games in three seasons.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.