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ESPN's Chris Mortensen breaks down the Dick Vermeil/Elvis Grbac situation.
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Dan Patrick Show
Where is Elvis Grbac going? ESPN's Chris Mortensen answers that and other QB questions.
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Chiefs let Grbac go to be a free agent

Chris Mortensen archive: stories

Vermeil unhappy with way Grbac left Chiefs

March 1
Let the record show that Dick Vermeil has a bad taste for what Elvis Grbac just pulled on the Kansas City Chiefs. Now it looks like Grbac will be slinging passes for the Baltimore Ravens.

Elvis Grbac

"He could have told us he wanted out three weeks ago and he chose to wait until the last moment," Vermeil said Thursday. "The agent (Jim Steiner) told us yesterday that Elvis told him three weeks ago that he did not feel good about coming back to the team. But (Steiner) didn't say anything because he said he was hoping Elvis would change his mind. I'm bothered by the integrity of what happened. I don't appreciate the ethics on this one."

Grbac had become unpopular with his teammates, who questioned his leadership under fire, despite a Pro Bowl season. The "chemistry" problem did not surprise Vermeil.

"Elvis did not believe he had a great relationship with this football team, which I know to be true," said Vermeil. "But it was amendable. Plus, some of those guys are gone now. The salary cap did not cause us to cut Elvis Grbac. We could have worked that out, but we didn't find out until now that he never wanted to work it out."

Vermeil admitted that he had heard Grbac was unhappy with the Chiefs, but he never heard it directly from the quarterback. "There are no secrets in this league," the coach said. "I was told two weeks ago that this would transpire. Now it has."

Now Vermeil must sacrifice either draft picks or big money to acquire a quarterback. He called the Rams on Wednesday night to make sure that his former team does not deal Green without checking back with him. He said Rams president Jay Zygmunt did not give him a reason to be overly optimistic about landing Green.

"That's basically right," said Zygmunt. "We are not actively trying to trade Trent. If something comes our way that we have to listen to, we'll do it. But we've said all along that we do not have to trade Trent -- he and Kurt Warner do not eat up a lot of (salary cap) space."

Translation: The Chiefs, or any team interested in Green, will have to pay at least first- and third-round picks, and maybe a little more.

Vermeil said he and his staff are evaluating other quarterbacks, "like Brad Johnson and Doug Flutie, and some of the other guys."

I'm bothered by the integrity of what happened. I don't appreciate the ethics on this one.
Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil

The problem in signing a free-agent quarterback is money. The Chiefs have been under the gun trying to trim $33 million in time to be compliant with Thursday's mandatory salary-cap deadline. So there won't be a lot of free money to throw around. It's hardly what Vermeil envisioned when he decided to re-enter the league after a one-year hiatus from his Super Bowl winning season in St. Louis. True, he's back with good friend Carl Peterson, but you wonder whether he yearns for the mastery that Zygmunt has provided the Rams in managing the team roster.

"Honestly, I wasn't aware of the shape we were in," said Vermeil. "But that's the NFL today. We're resolving our problems now. Eventually, we'll get back to coaching our players and we'll have a quarterback."

For now, counting Warren Moon's retirement parlayed with the jettison of Grbac, the Chiefs have only one quarterback, Todd Collins, on the roster.

"I liked him in college when he was a second-round pick out of Michigan," said Vermeil. "Grbac was a seventh-round pick out of the same school, so there were definitely people out there who liked Todd. I saw him get the crap knocked out of him in Buffalo, so he may get an opportunity."

Nevertheless, Vermeil would rather have had Grbac back in the fold.

"In some ways, he lost this team, but I think it was a salvageable situation," the coach said. "Apparently, he didn't think so. Fine, I wish him luck. I just wish he had done this another way."

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