By Houston Mitchell
4:13 PM EDT, May 6, 2013
The Minnesota Vikings released punter Chris Kluwe on Monday, Kluwe announced on Twitter.
Kluwe tweeted the news on Twitter shortly after meeting with Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman.
Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years. I wouldn't have traded it for anything.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 6, 2013
Kluwe, 31, ranked just 17th in the NFL in punting and was due to make $1.45 million this season. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA before the 2005 season.
Kluwe has been very controversial off the field, often criticizing the league and other players. Last season, he wore a patch on his uniform to protest the lack of punters in the Hall of Fame. He has also been a vocal supporter of gay rights, and was one of the first athletes to congratulate Jason Collins on Twitter when the NBA center said last week that he is gay.
Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was critical of Kluwe after the Hall of Fame punters patch drew a fine of $5,000.
“Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you,” Priefer said. “Do I think Ray Guy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. But there's other ways of going about doing it, in my opinion.”
The Vikings drafted Jeff Locke, also from UCLA, in the fifth round of last month's NFL draft, making Kluwe expendable.
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