Vet WR Matthews released after leaving Saints

METAIRIE, La. -- Veteran wide receiver Rishard Matthews was released by the New Orleans Saints with a "left team" designation on Saturday.

Coach Sean Payton said Matthews did not give a specific reason for his departure. But Payton confirmed that it was Matthews' decision to leave the team, adding, "It's not for everyone."

Matthews, 29, joined the Saints in June after a minicamp tryout. But he was playing with the backup units throughout training camp. He caught one pass for 7 yards while playing 20 snaps in Friday night's preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings.

Matthews was the Tennessee Titans' top receiver from the 2016 and 2017 seasons, but he asked for his release last year because of a diminished role and wound up catching just five passes for 24 yards in a total of eight games with the Titans and New York Jets.

Matthews also requested a trade before his final season with the Miami Dolphins in 2015 while skipping voluntary workouts, though he ultimately stayed with the team for one more season.

The 6-foot, 217-pounder has 230 career catches for 3,160 yards and 21 touchdowns in seven years.

The Saints also released veteran receiver Cameron Meredith earlier in training camp -- with Payton pointing to the impressive performances of a group of young undrafted receivers as one of the reasons. New Orleans needs more production from its wideout position behind Michael Thomas this year. But the team does have five of its top receivers back from last year (Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., Tre'Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood and Austin Carr).

Undrafted rookies/first-year pros Emmanuel Butler, Simmie Cobbs Jr., Cyril Grayson Jr. and Lil'Jordan Humphrey are among those early-camp standouts who are vying for roster spots at wide receiver.

The Saints also released tight end Jake Powell on Saturday and placed veteran offensive lineman Ulrick John on injured reserve.