Cleveland Browns release veteran tight end Gary Barnidge

Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnridge (82) runs for yardage after the catch in action against the Baltimore Ravens. (Damian Strohmeyer via AP)

BEREA, OH (AP) — The Cleveland Browns have released veteran tight end Gary Barnidge, one of their most productive players the past four years.

Barnidge made 134 catches for 1,655 yards over the last two seasons. He signed a three-year extension with the Browns during his 2015 Pro Bowl season, when he had 79 receptions for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns.

The 31-year-old, who was also active in the community, thanked Cleveland fans on Twitter, saying he’s “looking forward to seeing the change. Time for the next step.”

Barnidge has played eight seasons in the NFL after starting with Carolina.

Cleveland wants to get younger at the tight end. The Browns traded a second-round pick to Green Bay and moved into the first round to select Miami tight end David Njoku with the No. 29 overall pick on Thursday night.

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