A second-generation Saint who turned in one of the NFL's most inspirational stories last year has been let go.
New Orleans released veteran linebacker Michael Mauti on Wednesday, according to the NFL's transactions wire, a little more than a month after re-signing the free agent to the roster.
Cutting Mauti made room for the Saints to sign former UCLA wide receiver Eldridge Massington.
Mauti, 28, spent the past three seasons in New Orleans, endearing himself to fans for his play on the field and his perseverance in the face of crippling illness.
The son of former Saints special teams ace Rich Mauti, Mauti played his high school football at Mandeville High, then played his college football at Penn State and his first two seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings.
New Orleans claimed Mauti on waivers after the Vikings released him after his third training camp in Minnesota, and Mauti responded with his best season in the NFL. A force in the kicking game who made nine tackles and blocked a punt in prime time against Atlanta, Mauti also played a career-high 175 snaps on defense for the Saints, recording 28 tackles.
Mauti was voted the Saints special teams captain the next season, but a condition that first appeared at Penn State cut his season short at eight games. Mauti had been battling ulcerative colitis since college, and his condition deteriorate to the point where the 240-pounder dropped below 200 pounds.
Under the advice of his doctors, Mauti ended his 2016 season and underwent three surgeries to replace his large intestine and rectum, a surgery no other NFL player has returned from to play in the NFL.
Mauti made it back, albeit after being cut at the end of training camp a year ago. Five games into the season, Saints linebacker Nate Stupar tore his ACL, and the Saints turned to Mauti, who made eight tackles on defense and three on special teams. Mauti's toughness in returning earned him the team's Ed Block Courage Award.
New Orleans initially appeared to be bringing back the veteran linebacker when the Saints signed him in April, but the Saints changed that decision Wednesday by releasing Mauti outright.