Texans release Foster, franchise's top rusher

The Houston Texans released running back Arian Foster on Thursday.

“There are not many players I respect more than Arian Foster,” Texans general manager Rick Smith said in a statement. “He maximized his opportunity as an undrafted college free agent and worked to become the most productive back in franchise history, and one of the most complete backs in the NFL during his tenure with the Texans.

“Arian has contributed much, and meant a great deal to the success of the franchise over the past seven seasons and we wish only the best as he continues his playing career.”

Foster rushed for 6,472 yards and 54 touchdowns with the Texans, both franchise career highs. He led the NFL in rushing in 2010 and has been named to the Pro Bowl four times.

The 29-year-old Foster was due a $ 6.5 million base salary with a salary-cap number of almost $ 9 million for the 2016 season. By releasing him, the Texans save around $ 6.6 million, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The last time Foster played in all 16 games was in 2012. During the 2015 season, he missed 12 games due to a torn groin suffered during the Texans’ first padded training camp practice in August and a torn Achilles tendon in Week 7. He had his second surgery of the season after the tendon tear and missed the rest of the year. He posted career worsts in yards per rush, rushing yards per game and first-down percentage in 2015.

Since becoming the Texans’ starting running back in 2010, Foster leads the NFL in carries per game.

ESPN staff writer Tania Ganguli and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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