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Broncos, Phillip Lindsay mutually part ways

Hometown star had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons but he and Melvin Gordon didn't mesh in co-back system.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos rescinded their low, restricted free agent tender on running back Phillip Lindsay, a move that released the former Pro Bowler and two-time 1,000-yard rusher to free agency.

Lindsay's agent Mike McCartney stated on Twitter "it's been mutually decided that rescinding the RFA tender is best for both Phillip Lindsay and the team. It's been a great 3 years in Denver for (Lindsay)."

“We’ve had a lot of talks over the last couple of weeks with Phillip and Mike McCartney, his agent,'' Broncos general manager George Paton said at a press conference Thursday that introduced newcomer cornerback Ronald Darby and backup running back Mike Boone. "At the end of the day, we wanted to do right by Phillip. He’s been a great player here and he’s been great in the community. He’s one of the more popular players for the Broncos the last few years and we wanted to let Phillip hit the market and maximize his value, so that’s what we did. He deserves that.”

A product of Denver South High School and the University of Colorado, the explosive, 5-foot-7 2/5, 183-pound Lindsay was an undrafted rookie sensation in 2018 when he rushed for 1,037 yards and 9 touchdowns while earning a Pro Bowl berth.

> Above video: Lindsay speaks at 2020 Inclusive Sports Summit.

RELATED: 'This one hurts': Broncos players react to Phillip Lindsay's departure

Despite coming off wrist surgery, Lindsay rushed for another 1,011 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2019. But instead of giving Lindsay a new contract after his second season, Broncos management delivered the popular back a blow when it instead signed free-agent Melvin Gordon to a two-year, $16 million contract that was almost fully guaranteed.

Gordon and Lindsay co-existed well for about half the season, but then Gordon took off starting with game 10 against Miami, while Lindsay battled injuries the rest of the season. Lindsay's production dropped to 502 rushing and 1 touchdown with 7 receptions -- after he had 35 catches each of his first two seasons.

When Gordon had his two DUI charges in a Denver courtroom dismissed last week -- greatly reducing the possibility he will be suspended by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy while also diminishing the chance his contract guarantees  would be voided -- the Broncos gave a low-round $2.13 million tender on Lindsay instead of a second-round $3.38 million tender that a player of his stature usually receives.

The low tender allowed opposing teams the opportunity to sign Lindsay away without compensating the Broncos with a draft pick. But with the running back market flooded with good backs, and the Broncos picking up backup running back Mike Boone from Minnesota on Wednesday, it was mutually decided Thursday morning it would be best to remove all restrictions on Lindsay.

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay after an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

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