ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Safety Darian Stewart is joining a crowded field of free agent safeties following his release Wednesday from the Denver Broncos, where he won a Super Bowl ring.
A starter in Denver since 2015, Stewart was a part of the famed "No Fly Zone" secondary that also featured safety T.J. Ward and cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib.
With Stewart's departure, Harris is the only remaining member of that secondary that helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50 three years ago.
Stewart, who turns 31 in August, was due nearly $5 million in both 2019 and 2020.
"Broncos country thank you all for the love you showed me and my family these past 4 years," Stewart wrote on Instagram. "But it's time for me to move on and I'm looking forward to the next chapter."
The nine-year pro said he felt he still had a lot of football left in him, but he'll have some stiff competition on the open market that features safeties Earl Thomas, Landon Collins, Lamarcus Joyner, Tyrann Mathieu and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, among others.
Undrafted out of South Carolina in 2010, Stewart spent four seasons with the Rams in St. Louis followed by one season in Baltimore, where he caught the eye of Gary Kubiak, who was the Ravens' offensive coordinator in 2014. When Kubiak replaced John Fox as head coach in Denver, he encouraged general manager John Elway to sign Stewart.
Stewart missed just three games in his four seasons in Denver, where he collected 250 total tackles, intercepted nine passes and broke up two dozen others, recovered four fumbles and registered one sack.
In the 2015 playoffs, he had 11 tackles, a sack, an interception, three pass breakups and a forced fumble and he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2016.
Elway called him Wednesday to inform him of his release.
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton