<span>The New Orleans Saints announced today that they have released 10-year veteran cornerback Mike McKenzie.
McKenzie, 32, played five seasons with the Saints after being acquired from the Green Bay Packers on October 4, 2004. With the Saints McKenzie started 62-of-the-63 games he played in and registered 225 tackles (167 solo and 58 assists), 58 passes defensed and 12 interceptions (259 return yards) and one forced fumble.
"Decisions such as these are the hardest to make in this business," said Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis. "Mike has been a stand-out performer for the Saints both on-and-off-the-field during his career with the Saints. We wish him well in his future and thank him for all of his efforts representing the Saints"
The product of the University of Memphis broke into the NFL as a third round draft choice of the Packers in 1999 and went on to earn All-Rookie honors from both The Football News and Football Digest. Over the course of his career, the 6-0, 194-pound native of Miami, FL has played in 133 career regular season games, making 129 starts, and has accumulated 516 career tackles (413 solo and 103 assists), along with 27 career interceptions (424 return yards), in addition to 141 career passes defensed with one fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
The past two seasons ended on difficult notes for McKenzie, as he suffered a knee injury in game 15 of the 2007 season against Philadelphia on the third play of the game from scrimmage while hustling to make a play deep in the Saints' end of the field. He successfully returned from his knee injury after missing the first two regular season games of the 2008 season and played in seven of the contests (making six starts), but suffered a fractured right patella while making a tackle along the sideline in game 10 against the Atlanta Falcons. He was subsequently placed on injured reserve the following day.
McKenzie forged a strong reputation of exemplary community service while with the Saints. Through his "34 Ways Foundation," McKenzie annually hosted youth football camps in the area and also developed collegiate preparation courses for students advancing to college that focused on making correct lifestyle and educational choices. In addition, McKenzie regularly visited local schools and hospitals and served as an inspirational figure to children and adults, alike.