The Colts also cut ties with linebackers Mike Labinjo and Brandon Hoyte and defensive back Trevis Coley and signed tight end Mike Seidman.
Gardner was drafted out of Purdue in the third round in 2004 and was expected to be a good fit in coach Tony Dungy's defensive scheme. Instead, two injury- prone years relegated Gardner primarily to special teams and backup duty. When David Thornton left after the 2005 season, the Colts plugged him into a starting job.
Gardner never quite fit into that role, either. With the Colts' run defense ranked last in the NFL, Dungy benched Gardner in mid-December and he was inactive for all three playoff games and the Super Bowl.
Still, the Colts saw enough promise in Gardner to offer the restricted free agent a one-year tender worth $850,000, which he signed. But he never made it to training camp.
Gardner finished his Colts career with 97 career tackles, including 66 last year.
Joseph signs with 49ers
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â€¢ BATON ROUGE, La. - Former LSU defensive back Sammy Joseph has signed a rookie free-agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers, making him the 13th player from the Tigers' 2006 squad to join an NFL team.
Joseph began his college career at Colorado in 2003 before transferring to LSU. He played in 17 games for the Tigers, recording nine tackles. Playing cornerback, he never started on a defense but often played on special teams units.
Joseph is one of eight LSU players to sign free-agent contracts after five Tigers were taken in the NFL draft April 28-29.