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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Kansas City Chiefs release QB Matt Cassel

By Bill Williamson


This has been a foregone conclusion for months, so the cheering from Chiefs fans in Kansas City may be somewhat muted.

But make no mistake; this is not a sad day in Kansas City. Matt Cassel is officially a former Chief as the team cut him Thursday morning. Again, no surprise here. The Chiefs agreed to trade for Alex Smith to be the new starter weeks ago. But Cassel’s time in Kansas City actually expired last season when he was replaced by Brady Quinn.

The once-hopeful franchise quarterback bottomed out in 2012, and his failure to become the Chiefs' answer was a primary reason general manager Scott Pioli was jettisoned after the season.

Cassel was Pioli’s first big pickup in 2009. The two had success together in New England. Cassel became hot when he played well in 2008 as an injury replacement for Tom Brady. Cassel did play well in Kansas City in 2010 as he led the team to the AFC West title, but he did little to progress following that season. In 2012, he was a turnover machine (12 interceptions) and he seemed to lose his teammates' confidence.

A nice guy off the field (he once alerted a Kansas City neighbor to escape her burning home), Cassel just didn’t seem like he could lead his team, and he became the center of the fans' disdain. It was a national story when right tackle Eric Winston (who was cut last week) passionately ripped some fans who he accused of cheering when Cassel went down with a concussion. All the negative attention was nothing new for Cassel, as he once was booed at a Major league Baseball All-Star event in Kansas City last summer.

The new Kansas City regime truly had no intention of keeping Cassel, but he was kept around in a futile attempt to get a late-round draft pick for him. When that dream ended, Cassel was cut.

He will get some looks as a backup with Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Arizona, all teams who have been mentioned as possible destinations.

As for Kansas City, Cassel's tenure will be nothing but memories of a failed experiment.