Indianapolis Colts release cornerback Vontae Davis

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis takes up his position during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in Indianapolis. (Photo by the Associated Press)

The Indianapolis Colts have released cornerback Vontae Davis, once considered the team’s best defensive player.

Davis has been hampered this season by a groin injury, and a rift developed between Davis and coach Chuck Pagano after he was demoted from the starting lineup. Davis did not make the trip to Houston last week.

He talked openly to reporters earlier this week about feeling a lack of respect from the Colts over his removal from the starting lineup.

Davis, 29, is slated to be a free agent after this season.

Drafted out of the University of Illinois in the 2009 first round by the Miami Dolphins, he was traded to the Colts in 2012. He has 120 career games (112 starts) with 399 tackles, 22 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), three forced fumbled and one fumble recovery.

The Colts announced his release Thursday, but did not immediately comment further.