New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said releasing third-year linebacker Martez Wilson was a tough decision. But he said “I think overall it was just trying to pay attention to production.”

“We had a chance to visit yesterday. I know that he’ll have another opportunity and you want to see him do well” said Payton whose prediction proved correct when Wilson was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Raiders later in the day. “But those are the decisions that are tough oftentimes during the season.”

Wilson who was drafted in the third round out of Illinois in 2011 is a standout athlete who showed great potential but was never able to find a fit while switching positions and defensive coordinators every year. He was released Tuesday when the Saints needed to free a roster spot to promote rookie quarterback Ryan Griffin to the active roster to keep him from being signed away by another quarterback-needy team.

Wilson’s closest friend on the team outside linebacker Junior Galette admitted it was a tough loss Wednesday -- and a reality check.

“Martez became my best friend I feel like on and off the field. It’s tough for me but it’s the business we’re in” said Galette a former undrafted free agent in 2010 who is having his best season to date. “Football is a fun game but that’s just a reminder it’s a serious business. Phenomenal athlete probably the best athlete I’ve probably ever seen 6-4 255 can run sub 4.4 can do all the things that a NFL DB can do as far as running. That just goes to show you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game every day and you have to produce at the end of the day.”