The Redskins have released running back and kick return specialist Chad Morton, the team announced on Friday.
Morton met with head coach Joe Gibbs on Thursday afternoon and was informed of the team's decision to release him. Upon leaving Redskins Park, Morton was optimistic that he would land with another team by late July, when training camps around the league typically start.
The 5-9, 203-pounder has spent the last few months recovering from knee surgery. Wide receivers Santana Moss, Antonio Brown and James Thrash have experience as punt and kickoff return specialists, so Morton's role on the team seemed uncertain heading into training camp next month.
Morton, a five-year NFL veteran with prior stints at the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets, joined the Redskins in 2003 as a restricted free agent. He has served primarily as a return specialist on both punts and kickoffs.
In 2003, Morton appeared in 15 games, starting two at running back due to injuries to Ladell Betts and Trung Canidate. Morton posted 44 kickoff returns for a 23.4-yard return average and had 19 punt returns for a 9.9-yard return average. In a Week 13 game against the Saints, he returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, the fourth of his career.
Morton was sidelined half of last season with a torn ACL in his knee. He underwent surgery on the knee last December. In eight games, Morton returned 13 punts for a 6.2-yard return average and 16 kickoffs for a 22.4-yard return average.
In an interview with Redskins.com in March, Morton acknowledged that he was uncertain of his future with the team. He said he expected to be back at full health by the start of training camp.
"I don't know what they have in store for me," Morton said in late March. "I don't even know if I'm going to be playing here."
Morton added: "I don't know how much I'm going to miss this offseason and training camp. If I end up [getting cleared to practice] late in camp, I've got to show coaches what I can do pretty fast. I've got to be in great shape."