T.J. Ward Says Broncos Release Was Done in 'Completely Unprofessional' Manner

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2017

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 30:  T.J. Ward #43 of the Denver Broncos in action during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field At Mile High on October 30, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  The Broncos defeated the Chargers 27-19.  (Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images)
Rob Leiter/Getty Images

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety T.J. Ward took issue with his departure from the Denver Broncos, saying his release happened in a "completely unprofessional" manner, according to NFL Network's Peter Schrager.

In announcing the team's decision to cut Ward, Broncos team president and general manager John Elway spoke highly of Ward.

"He was a respected teammate whose attitude and physical mindset played a big part in our success, especially during our Super Bowl run," Elway said, per ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold. "We thank T.J. for his contributions as a Bronco and wish him nothing but the best in the future."

NFL Network's James Palmer reported Saturday that Ward's former teammates in Denver were also disappointed with the move:

James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV

Team might feel they can replace T.J. Ward on the field, but in the LR I’m not so sure. Loved by many teammates who are upset with the move.

James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV

@PriscoCBS Staff yes, players on that side of the ball, not happy. And that’s putting it politely.

In terms of his chagrin with the Broncos front office, Ward may be alluding to the trade rumors that swirled prior to his outright release. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Aug. 29 Ward had been included in trade discussions between Denver and other teams.

Broncos linebacker Von Miller was among those surprised to hear the news, per the Denver Post's Nicki Jhabvala:

Nicki Jhabvala @NickiJhabvala

Von Miller on T.J. Ward and trade reports: https://t.co/r4qgNcstVL

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Ward had one year left on his contract, and Jhabvala noted the Broncos saved $4.5 million by cutting him before the start of the regular season.

Ward didn't need to wait long to find his next home. The Buccaneers announced Monday they have signed the three-time Pro Bowler. Rapoport reported it's a one-year contract worth up to $5 million.

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