The Garrett Hartley era is over in New Orleans as the Saints parted ways with the veteran kicker this afternoon. Tensions had been high for several weeks as Hartley was inconsistent since the Saints bye in week 7. He is only 8 out of 14 since. This season Hartley has slumped to 22 of 30 on field goal attempts which is near the bottom of the NFL in accuracy.
Rumors have been swirling for weeks as after the Dallas Cowboys win, New Orleans brought in five kickers for a mini-tryout. Coach Sean Payton decided to stick with his longtime kicker though. This past weekend Hartley was 1 of 3 in a loss at St Louis that seems to have been the last straw. It seems a desperate and strange move this close to the playoffs.
Garrett Hartley leaves a great legacy in New Orleans and Saints fans should hold him in high regard for years. When the chips were down, Hartley made his kicks. He was a perfect 8 for 8 in the playoffs including a record 3 kicks over 40 yards in Super Bowl XLIV. He also nailed the overtime field goal in the NFC Championship that sent the Saints to the Super Bowl that year. Hartley gave the Saints a very solid 6 years and should not have trouble latching on with another NFL franchise.
Look for action on Garrett Hartley to heat up after the April NFL Draft. Teams will then begin their minicamps and bringing in new players to have a look. Meanwhile, Hartley prepares for the debut of his new show on the Sportsmans Channel in July entitled Southern Chaos.