The Los Angeles Chargers today announced the release of cornerback Casey Hayward Jr.
"When we signed Casey during free agency back in 2016, we felt that we were adding a starting-caliber corner who still had a considerable amount of unrealized potential. Not only did Casey realize that potential in the years that followed, he exceeded our high expectations and became a prominent leader for our team both on and off the field," said General Manager Tom Telesco.
"He started 75-of-78 games with us, was named to a pair of All-Pro teams, made two trips to the Pro Bowl, earned our 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year nomination and has been a multi-year team captain. These type of well-rounded individuals don't come around very often, and we're incredibly fortunate to have had Casey Hayward on this football team the past five years.
"While the decision to add Casey to the team was obviously one of the best free agent signings we have ever made, this roster-related decision is one of the most difficult. At the end of the day, however, this decision does not diminish what Casey has meant to the Chargers organization nor our gratitude for his time here. Casey is the consummate professional and a shining example for everyone who aspires to play in the NFL."
Hayward led the NFL with seven interceptions in his first year with the team after signing with the Chargers as an unrestricted free agent in 2016. In back-to-back seasons (2016-17), he was a Pro Bowler and was selected as a second-team All-Pro by The Associated Press. The Perry, Ga., native was Los Angeles' nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2017 for his off-field work in the community and with his foundation, Hayward's Hands.
The 2020 team captain posted 66 passes defensed over the last five years, good for the third-most in football and a conference-best over that span. Hayward is one of just six NFL players to record 100 passes defensed since he entered the league as a second-round selection by Green Bay in 2012.
Hayward earned league recognition as the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November during the 2017 season after posting three picks and nine passes defensed over the month. In Week 1, he became the first defensive back since at least 2000 to have 10-plus solo tackles and a pair of passes defensed on Kickoff Weekend, earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week recognition.