Dear Michael -
I hate goodbyes, because they're no fun. But it's time. It's not you. It's us. We need salary cap space, and you're just not worth what we'd need to pay you. We need some us time. We need some time to be self.
Don't cry, it's all our fault. We used you again and again. We used you like Caleb uses baby wipes. For now, you're still a Falcon. To be sure, in our minds, you will always be a Falcon. But alas, I fear our time together is coming to an end.
You never once asked to renegotiate your contract or held out for more money. We appreciate that. Your chin beard promotes world peace. You're great.
Please understand, it's not that I haven't enjoyed our time together. We had some great times. I'll never forget what you did for the Falcons. Since 2008, you've rushed for 6,081 yards and 60 touchdowns. You've bled for this team. You've cried for this team. You've literally thrown lead-blocking, diminutive wide receivers into opposing defenders for this team. You're an absolute beast when pass blocking, and you break tackles like it's going out of style.
Even so, you haven't been perfect. You're a little slow - not exactly Jerome Bettis slow, but not far off. You've never been much of a threat in the passing game. To an extent, that's okay, but the league is evolving, and you're largely one-dimensional. Then there's the [insert coughing noise] less-than-ideal publicity. Baby mama fights and DUIs are never good.
Overall, you've been fantastic. Better than fantastic. You carried this team when Matt Ryan wasn't sure of himself. Heck, you made his job easy in 2008. To that effect, you were exceptional notwithstanding four years under Mike "I Couldn't Coach Myself Out of a Cardboard Box" Mularkey. We appreciate all you were and all you are.
It won't be easy to see you go, and anyone who doesn't wish you well is just plain ungrateful. There will never be another "Burner" on this team. There won't. When all is said and done, we will move on, and we're hopeful you can too. This isn't the end for you, it isn't. Teams will pursue you, and you will land somewhere.
When that axe comes down, and it will come down, don't look back in anger. We won't.