The New Orleans Saints are releasing one of the most beloved players in franchise history, running back Pierre Thomas. This, according to a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

Thomas was a long shot to make the Saints roster in 2007 after signing with the franchise as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois. New Orleans backfield already contained Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush, veteran Aaron Stecker, as well as a 4th round draft pick the Saints moved up to get in rookie Antonio Pittman.

However, during the 2007 preseason Thomas began to show the Saints, along with the Who Dat nation, what made him so special.

His will to succeed to stood out on the field, whether it be breaking tackles, making blocks, returning kicks or catching passes. His positive attitude was infectious, and after a standout training camp and preseason, Thomas beat out Pittman to earn a spot on the 53 man roster.

For the next 8 seasons, Thomas would play in 108 games, rushing for 3,745 yards (4th most in franchise history), reel in 327 receptions (6th most in franchise history) for 2,608 yards (14th most in franchise history).

Thomas was also the leading rusher for the team in 2009, helping the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV, scoring the first touchdown for the team in a comeback win over the Colts.

New Orleans is estimated to be roughly $22 million over the salary cap, and must get below it be 3:00 pm on Tuesday. The team will save $1.735 million with his release.