The news broke Wednesday that it was a possibility, and all of Broncos Country held their collective breath waiting for either outcome.

Would the Denver Broncos really cut T.J. Ward? One of the leaders of the Broncos’ elite, ‘No-Fly Zone’ secondary?

Ward survived Friday’s list of roster cuts and may began to assume that he and Broncos would restructure Ward’s contract to keep him in a Broncos uniform at least until his contract expired.

But then Saturday morning rolled around. And with many cuts still remaining to meet the 53-man roster limit, news broke that Ward had indeed been cut. General Manager John Elway released a statement on the Ward cut.

“This was a difficult decision to part ways with T.J. after everything he’s done for our football team,” Elway said. “He was a respected teammate whose attitude and physical mindset played a big part in our success, especially during our Super Bowl run. We thank T.J. for his contributions as a Bronco and wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

The news was incredibly hard for players to swallow, taking to Twitter as soon as the news broke:

Ward joined the Broncos in 2014 as a free agent from Cleveland. He has made the Pro Bowl in two of his three years here in Denver, winning a Super Bowl with the team in 2016. During the 2016 season, he lead the team in tackles with 69 solo tackles.

However, a combination of Ward’s injury history, the play of Justin Simmons in his relief and Ward’s salary for 2017 were all becoming factors for the Broncos to part ways with the pro bowl safety. Ward had not played a full 16-game season since coming to Denver in 2014. His cap hit of $5.75 million was seen as possibly too high of a cost for Ward’s services.