New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton says he wishes Roman Harper well at the Carolina Panthers.
Harper was one of many casualties last month as the Saints moved to clear up salary cap space by cutting a host of veteran players.
The 31-year-old was released alongside the likes of Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma and Jabari Greer. It was later announced that Darren Sproles had been traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Harper played eight seasons with the Saints and helped the franchise to Superbowl glory in 2009.
Now he has signed on the dotted line with divisional rivals the Panthers - who beat the Saints to the top spot in the NFC in 2013.
Payton says it was hard to say goodbye to a player like Harper who was the second player drafted by the Saints after he took charge in 2006 - but wished him well with his new team.
"When you're with a player like that, who's in your initial draft class, who was our second-round pick, who's been a part of all our playoffs, who's been a part of our Super Bowl, two NFC championship (games) - he's been a part of everything," Payton said on Monday while attending the NFL owners meetings in Orlando.
"When you've had that much experience with a player, you really want what's best for them, whether it's in your division, in the AFC. He's someone that will walk together forever with so many different players in our building. So you root for him."
Wile he Saints have said goodbye to a host of players, there have been plenty of new arrivals too, including Jairus Byrd and Erik Lorig.
Payton says he welcomes the change, he did admit he looked back fondly on his time with his former players.
“Those are difficult players to part ways with because of how much they’ve contributed,” he said. “Those guys are pillars of where we’re at now and have their names on a lot of our success.”
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