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Chiefs Cut Fasano

It’s a busy time around the personnel wing of Arrowhead Stadium as the Chiefs spend time working on their salary cap, making moves to apply the franchise player tag on outside linebacker Justin Houston and adjusting their roster.

Another one of those moves came on Thursday when the Chiefs released veteran tight end Anthony Fasano. The move will create almost $2 million in room under the salary cap. Fasano was scheduled to count $4,209,375 on the cap tab for the Chiefs. By releasing him, they gain $1,959,375 of cap room but have to eat the rest as dead money.

Fasano signed a 4-year, $16 million deal with the Chiefs in 2013. Over the last two seasons, he’s played in 24 of 32 games, making 22 starts and catching 48 passes for 426 yards and seven touchdown receptions. He will be 31 years old in April and is heading into his 10th season in the league.

The development of Travis Kelce made Fasano expendable. They also have Demetrius Harris coming off the injured-reserve list and also on the roster are Brandon Barden, Adam Schiltz and veteran Richard Gordon.

The NFL Combine Numbers Sometimes Lie

They put away the tape measure, scale and stopwatch at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday as the league wrapped up the physical testing at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. The players were all out the door on Monday, and the club personnel will be on their way on Tuesday.

Many consider the Combine to be nothing more than underwear Olympics and there’s no question that a lot of attention goes to the guys that post top-flight numbers in the testing whether it’s in the 40-yard dash, bench press or the 60-yard shuttle. Any group of football players will present a broad spectrum of body types and physical talents, and within that collection of over 340 players, there are some truly outstanding athletes.

That does not always translate to being a productive player in the NFL. The history of the NFL Draft is filled with examples of workout wonders that turned heads running around in t-shirt and shorts, lifting their station in the group. The poster child for the Combine bump was defensive end Mike Mamula out of Boston College in 1995.

Before the Combine that year, he was pegged as a mid-round prospect coming off a senior season when he had 13 sacks and 73 total tackles at B.C. But Mamula spent months getting ready not for football, but for the drills run during the Combine. He ended up running the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds at 250 pounds. That was faster than wide receiver J.J. Stokes. On the bench press with 225 pounds, he ripped off 28 repetitions or two more than offensive tackle Tony Boselli. He posted a 38.5-inch vertical jump, an unheard of number for a player of his size.

When the start of the ’95 NFL Draft came around, the Philadelphia Eagles traded up from No. 12 in the first round to No. 7 so they could select Mamula. It cost them a pair of second-round draft choices. Mamula was not a bust, but he never justified his selection at No. 7 with his play on the field. In five seasons with the Eagles he collected 31.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and an interception. …Read More!

How Fast Were NFL Combine Wide Receivers?

The NFL Combine featured the wide receivers on the field Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, including running the 40-yard dash, the best measurement for speed that evaluators in pro football have at their disposal.

There was no record setting performance by any of this year’s receivers. The fastest time University of Alabama-Birmingham receiver J.J. Nelson, the dash in 4.28 seconds. Nelson is 5-10ΒΌ, 156 pounds and last year in 12 games with UAB he caught 35 passes for 655 yards and 4 touchdown catches. A two-time high school 100 meters champion in Alabama, Nelson is the lightest player in the Combine since 2002 when wide receiver Aaron Lockett from Kansas State University weighed 155 pounds.

Coming into the Combine, University of Miami (FL) receiver Phillip Dorsett was expected to push on the event record for the 40-yard dash that was set in 2000 by running back Chris Johnson at 4.24 seconds. But Dorsett was timed in 4.33 seconds, taking the 40-yard dash silver medal. There was a tie for the bronze between University of Georgia’s Chris Conley and West Virginia University’s Kevin White; they both ran 4.35 seconds.

Former University of Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (left) turned in a time of 4.49 seconds, running at 229 pounds. K-State’s Tyler Lockett ran the 40 in 4.44 seconds to finish in the upper half of the 40 receivers that were timed by scouts and league officials on Saturday.

There were five receivers that did not run the 40 on Saturday: Dres Anderson of the University of Utah (torn left meniscus), Geremy Davis of the University of Connecticut (hamstring) Breshad Perriman of the University of Central Florida (hamstring), DeAndre Smelter from Georgia Tech (torn ACL) and Cam Worthy of the University of East Carolina (foot).

Here’s the 40-yard dash times posted Saturday by the NFL. Also, the height and weight numbers are from the Combine: …Read More!

Dorsey Speaks At The NFL Combine

It was John Dorsey turn in the media pit on Thursday at the NFL Combine in Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.

Much as his head coach did, the Chiefs general manager held his cards very close to his vest when it came to talking about the roster, free agency and the NFL Draft. We wouldn’t have expected anything but the quiet and cautious approach from Dorsey

There were plenty of questions concerning outside linebacker Justin Houston and just where the Chiefs stand with their league leading sacker.

“I think Justin Houston is a fine football player,” Dorsey said. “I think what he did this year, I mean, he did a wonderful job. We applaud him for that. His representative is in town and I’ve had ongoing discussions with his representative.”

Other words from Dorsey: …Read More!

Andy On Injured List At NFL Combine

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid limped up to the podium at Lucas Oil Stadium when he met with the media at the 2015 NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday.

Reid also used a cane – he’s rehabbing from knee replacement surgery in January. When asked if he would ready for off-season duties, Reid said: “I’ll be ready to go. I won’t be starting on PUP.”

In his answers to questions from the media Reid did not break any news about the Chiefs. He seldom does.

Here are some of Reid’s answers:

Decision to release wide receivers Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins: “I appreciate both of those guys, Donnie and A.J. Two different situations, one guy is a little bit younger than the other guy and Donnie has had a lot of good years in the National Football League. Hopefully he continues to have good years. I’ m pulling for him. A.J.’s just learning. He’ll continue to do that and hopefully hooks on with someone and has that opportunity.” …Read More!

Chiefs Start Housecleaning At Wide Receiver

The Chiefs got busy on Tuesday cleaning up their roster and payroll at the wide receiver position by releasing Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins.

The moves should save the team close to $5 million under the salary cap for the 2015 season, while leaving them with only minimal dead money on their account. Both receivers were in the final year of their contracts. Avery’s dead money will be just $500,000; that’s a pro-rated portion of his signing bonus and Jenkins won’t cost the Chiefs a thing because they acquired him in a trade with San Francisco in 2013 and there was no signing bonus pro-ration.

Avery was scheduled to make $2.7 million in base salary in 2015 with a $500,000 bonus if he was on the roster and $200,000 workout bonus. It was all part of the 3-year, $8.55 million deal he signed in 2013 as an unrestricted free agent. His release gives the Chiefs $3.4 million in cap savings in 2015. Jenkins was scheduled to make $660,000 in base salary with a $677,390 roster bonus. His release gives the Chiefs a cap saving of $1,337,390.

Both Avery and Jenkins dealt with injuries far more than they did with catching passes. Avery missed 14 games in two seasons because of injury and ended up catching 55 passes for 772 yards and two touchdown catches. He also had a 79-yard scoring catch against Indianapolis in the 2013 playoffs. Jenkins did not play in 11 games over the last two seasons and caught 17 passes for 223 yards and no touchdowns. He also had a catch for 27 yards against the Colts in the post-season.

NFL Clock Starts Monday On Franchise Player Tags

The official 2015 NFL business year starts March 10, but as of Monday league teams may use their franchise player and transition player designations to protect players that have played out their contracts and will become unrestricted free agents.

Players like Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston. Media reports over the weekend, led by ProFootballTalk.com, indicated that Chiefs negotiators and Houston’s agent Joel Segal will continue to work on a new contract this coming week. That news quite obviously came out of the Houston camp, so that may be wishful thinking on their part.

What is not in doubt is this – if a long-term contract can’t be reached by 3 p.m. Central Time on March 2nd, the Chiefs will use their franchise player tag on Houston. Whether they use the non-exclusive or exclusive franchise designation, the move will limit Houston’s options in free agency to one team – the Chiefs.

The NFL has not yet released a concrete figure on the salary cap number for the 2015 season. That very likely will be released to the teams sometime in the next two weeks, probably at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis that starts on Tuesday and runs through February 23rd. That number will help set the tender offer that teams must make to their franchise player. …Read More!

Alex’s Feeling Better; He’s Playing At Pebble Beach

On Saturday Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith finished up three days of play at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament on the PGA Tour.

Smith was paired with professional Jason Gore and they finished 16-under par over 54 holes. That wasn’t close to making the cut in the Pro-Am portion of the annual event. The low 25 duos will play on Sunday. Playing with PGA Tour pro Aaron Baddeley and country singer Clay Walker, Smith and his partner shot 64-66-69, finishing among the top 60 teams.

Remember, Smith’s football season ended a week early when he suffered a lacerated spleen and was forced to miss the final game of the season against San Diego. Smith said at the time the only thing he could not do according to the doctors was put his body at risk of being physically hit. That certainly wasn’t a problem at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, not unless he possibly ran into comedian Bill Murray who might try to tackle him in a sand trap.

At the famous par-3, hole No. 17, the CBS-TV coverage team did a video look at Smith’s golf swing with commentary from announcer Peter Kostis, a noted teacher of the game. On the 17th tee, Smith hit a nice tee shot on the green, but he blew the putt going up the hill and did not come close to a true birdie. It’s the same hole where Tom Watson chipped in and won the 1982 U.S. Open.

Also playing at Pebble Beach this week is former Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards. He was paired with pro John Daly. The only other footballer that was taking part was former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Harris Barton. In the past the field has included Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and other big football names.

Chiefs Add Another Defensive Back To Roster

This week the Chiefs signed cornerback Shaquille Richardson to a one-year contract.

The 6-1, 190-pound Richardson was selected in the fifth-round (pick #157) of the 2014 NFL Draft by Pittsburgh out of the University of Arizona. He was released before the start of the regular season and signed to the Steelers practice squad. During the season he was injured in practice and eventually reached an injury settlement with the team in November.

At Arizona, Richardson played in 49 games with 37 starts. He picked up 189 total tackles along with 10 interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown in 2011. He also forced three fumbles and recovered two others.

He will be 23 years old in March and was timed in the 40-yard dash going into last year’s NFL Draft in 4.43 seconds.

LaDainian Tells Talk of Fame Network Jamaal Is Best

Appearing on the Talk of Fame Network this week, former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson said that Jamaal Charles is the best running back in the NFL right now.

“If I’m thinking about a guy who sparks fear in a defense,” Tomlinson said, “it has to be Jamaal Charles.”

Tomlinson told hosts Rick Gosselin, Clark Judge and Ron Borges that the versatility Charles has shown makes the difference in being the NFL’s best back.

“The threat of a running back who can run it and catch … but, at the same time, be able to take it 80 yards on any given play, that’s rare,” Tomlinson said. “And that sparks fear in a defense.”

Here’s the link to the site and the interview with Tomlinson.

NFL Coaching Carousel Finally Stops Spinning

With the passing of the 2014 NFL season, attention turns toward the coming season. It’s been a busy time in the NFL coaching ranks, not just with seven teams hiring new head coaches, but new coaching staffs and individual changes across other teams with a returning head man.

After all the shuffling, there were 20 of 32 teams that changed a head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator or special teams coach. Some of those coordinator positions opened up due to firings and promotions. Seattle lost its defensive coordinator Dan Quinn who became head coach in Atlanta. Quinn was replaced by Kris Richard who was part of the Seahawks defensive staff. Baltimore’s offensive coordinator last season was Gary Kubiak, but he’s now the head coach in Denver. Replacing Kubiak with the Ravens is fired Chicago head coach Marc Trestman.

There are seven different head coaches, a dozen different offensive and defensive coordinators and nine new special teams coordinators/coaches.

The Chiefs were one of a dozen teams with no changes at the top in head coach or coordinator positions. As near as we know, Andy Reid has not made any deletions or additions to the staff that was employed last season. …Read More!

Chiefs Will Zero-In On WRs At Upcoming NFL Combine

There will be 44 wide receivers working at the 2015 NFL Combine in Indianapolis in two weeks. They will go through the typical tests and drills the Combine has always offered, and they will interview with individual teams.

Whether it’s the first round, or picks in later rounds, the Chiefs are going to draft a wide receiver. After ignoring the position in their first two drafts, general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid can’t afford to look past the pass catchers in the 2015 NFL Draft. It’s a position of need and there appears to be an abundance of talented prospects.

Their selection(s) don’t have to come from the NFL Combine list but generally they do; Dorsey and Reid made 14 selections in the 2013 and 2014 NFL Drafts and 11 players were Combine invitees. The only players drafted without that trip to Indy were center Eric Kush and linebacker Mike Catapano in ’13 and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in ’14. All three were sixth and seventh-round selections.

The Chiefs need an infusion of talent at other positions beyond the receivers, and they’ll be busy keeping their eye on blockers and tacklers at the Combine as well.

Today, here’s a look at the invited wide receivers. They are listed in alpha order and the statistics are from their 2014 college seasons. The last column is an early projection from NFL types on the round the player will be selected in the ’15 Draft. Overall, the projections come off the play of these receivers during last season. Some receivers will move up in round projection and some down based on evaluations from all-star games, the Combine and workouts for individual teams. Players without a round are currently candidates to be undrafted college free agents. …Read More!

NFL Combine Invites 324 Players To Indy

The NFL will select 256 players in the 2015 NFL Draft. That means some 68 of the 324 players invited to this year NFL Combine in Indianapolis will not be selected.

Actually, that number will be higher because several draft choices will be used on players that were not tendered invitations to the activity on February 17-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy.

Among the invitees there are 168 offensive players (15 quarterbacks, 36 running backs, 44 wide receivers, 20 tight ends and 53 offensive linemen.) There are 144 defensive players (55 defensive linemen, 35 linebackers and 54 defensive backs.) There are 12 specialists (5 kickers, 1 long snapper and 6 punters.) Among the group are 64 underclassmen that declared for this year’s draft.

Kansas State, Missouri and Kansas had 10 players that received invitations:

  • K-State (2) – OL B.J. Finney, WR Tyler Lockett.
  • Mizzou (5) – DL Markus Golden, WR Dorial Green-Beckham, OL Mitch Morse, RB Marcus Murphy, DL Shane Ray.
  • KU (3) – LB Ben Heeney, PK Trevor Pardula, DB Jacorey Shepherd.

Here are the invited players for this year’s Combine, list in alpha order: …Read More!

Chiefs Add Veteran Defensive Lineman

The Chiefs have signed five-year veteran defensive lineman Vaughn Martin to a contract. The deal was announced this week on the NFL’s daily personnel wire.

Martin, 6-4 and 300 pounds did not play in the NFL during the 2014 regular season; he was released in June last year by Detroit. Previously, he spent four seasons with San Diego and one season in Miami. He entered the league in the 2009 NFL Draft, selected in the 4th-round (#113) by the Chargers out of the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Martin was the first underclassmen out of Canada ever selected in the NFL Draft.

He’s Jamaican born and Canada raised and will be 29 years old in April. He battled a hernia problem in 2013-14 which lead to his release by the Dolphins in November ’13 and his release last season by the Lions. In 48 NFL games, he’s started 27 times with 78 total tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble playing at left defensive end. During his time in San Diego, he played against the Chiefs six times and totaled 11 total tackles.

NFL Makes It Official – Chiefs Own Pick No. 18

The NFL released on Tuesday the official order for the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Selecting first will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, followed by the Tennessee Titans. Both teams finished 2-14 on the season, but the Bucs get the initial selection because their strength of schedule was worst last year than the Titans.

The Chiefs will have selection No. 18 in the first round. After that, they will shuffle the deck for rounds No. 2 through 7 with the three other clubs that finished the season 9-7: Houston, San Diego and Buffalo.

Only once previously has the Hunt Family franchise owned the 18th pick in the draft. That was in the 1964 AFL Draft and pick No. 18 was in the third round. They drafted defensive tackle Ken Kortas out of the University of Louisville. Kortas signed with the NFL and played six seasons for the Rams, Steelers and Bears. He’s best known as the player that wore No. 75 for the Steelers before Mean Joe Greene, who joined Pittsburgh in 1969. …Read More!

Super Bowl Weekend Leftovers: It Takes a Team

It will go down as one of the most watched, most bet on and most exciting Super Bowl games in the 49 that have been played. The New England Patriots 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks was in doubt until the final 30 seconds, and the game was filled with performances by known stars and unknown contributors.

For the last stanza of the 2014 season, the NFL couldn’t have produced a better sign off considering the type of year it was for the league.

Random thoughts:

It Takes A Team

Football is a game that cannot be dominated by a single player. Tom Brady was named the Super Bowl 49 MVP and while that selection can be debated, there’s no question he was a big part of the Patriots victory. But he had so much help.

Let us remember this – Tom Brady was the 199th player selected in the 2000 NFL Draft. He was a 6th-round draft choice. The winning touchdown pass was thrown by Brady to wide receiver Julian Edelman, who came into the league without being selected in the NFL Draft. He finished the game with nine catches for 109 yards and that touchdown. New England’s touchdown before the throw to Edelman went to wide receiver Danny Amendola, another receiver that came into the NFL was an undrafted rookie free agent.

The winning interception was pulled off by cornerback Malcolm Butler, also not selected in the NFL Draft last year. In fact, he wasn’t even signed immediately after the draft. He was invited as an unsigned player to the Patriots rookie mini-camp and ended up being signed after his performance over that weekend.

There are talented football players everywhere, not just in the opening rounds of the NFL Draft. Give New England credit – they not only identify and find those players, but they develop them. That’s the two pronged attack that has allowed them to overcome the problems facing today’s NFL teams with free agency and the salary cap. They find and develop. …Read More!

Early Vegas Odds On Winning Super Bowl 50

It does not take long for the oddsmakers in Las Vegas to react in the world of sports. Within minutes of the New England 28-24 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl 49 on Sunday in Arizona, they posted the first of what will be many odds on what teams will be part of Super Bowl 50 a year from now.

No surprise that the Seahawks and Patriots are the favorites. The Chiefs are listed as 40-to-1 shots, along with Arizona, St. Louis, the New York Giants and San Diego.

2016 Super Bowl Odds

  • 6/1 – Seattle.
  • 7/1 – New England.
  • 8/1 – Green Bay.
  • 12/1 – Denver, Indianapolis.
  • 18/1 – Dallas.
  • 25/1 – Philadelphia.
  • 30/1 – Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, San Francisco.
  • 35/1 – Cincinnati.
  • 40/1 – Chiefs, Arizona, N.Y. Giants, St. Louis, San Diego.
  • 45/1 – Carolina, Miami.
  • 50/1 – Atlanta, Houston.
  • 60/1 – Chicago, Minnesota.
  • 70/1 – Buffalo, Cleveland.
  • 125/1 – New York Jets.
  • 140/1 – Washington.
  • 200/1 – Tampa Bay.
  • 300/1 – Jacksonville, Oakland, Tennessee.

Why The Seahawks Are Super, Chiefs Are On Vacation

The Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks were west division winners in 2010. In Kansas City, they finished 10-6 in the second year of what was a dysfunctional marriage between general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley.

The Pacific Northwest the Seahawks were just 7-9, but that was good enough to make the playoffs ahead of St. Louis as the Rams also finished at 7-9. That was the first year of what has become a storybook football marriage between general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.

The Chiefs have not played a game since December 28th. The Seahawks are in action Sunday in Super Bowl 49 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Seattle is looking for back-to-back titles after winning a year ago in a dominating victory over Denver.

Four seasons ago, the Chiefs and Hawks appeared to be on equal footing. As the 2014 season comes to an end with the Patriots and Seahawks kicking off right around 5:30 p.m. CST the question must be asked:

What happened? …Read More!

Timing Is Right – Shields Makes The Hall of Fame

Will Shields became the 11th member of the Kansas City Chiefs to gain election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

That news came down from Phoenix where the Hall’s selection committee voted in a class of eight that will be inducted in August in ceremonies in Canton, Ohio.

Joining Shields will be linebacker Junior Seau, running back Jerome Bettis, defensive end/linebacker Charles Haley, wide receiver Tim Brown, senior candidate Mick Tingelhoff and contributors Ron Wolf and Bill Polian.

Shields made the Hall in his fourth season of eligibility. The Chiefs third-round selection in the 1993 NFL Draft did not start the first game of his rookie season, but he finished the game and did not miss a start for the rest of his career.

He’s the first Chiefs offensive lineman to be selected for the Hall and only the second offensive player. He joins team founder Lamar Hunt, former head coach Hank Stram, quarterback Len Dawson, kicker Jan Stenerud and defensive stars Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Derrick Thomas, Emmitt Thomas, Curley Culp and Buck Buchanan.

The other members of the Hall of Fame class of 2015 are: …Read More!

It’s About Timing For Will Shields and Hall of Fame

For 16 years I sat in the meeting room on Super Bowl Saturday as part of the Selection Committee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There was not a time in all those years that I walked out after seven, eight, nine hours of discussion that I felt I knew what was going to be announced when it came time to introduce the inductees. Each of those meetings had a life and personality of its own. No two were alike. The results generally were not predictable.

If I was walking into that room on this Super Bowl Saturday, I would be wondering like everyone else what direction the voting will take. There are 18 men waiting for the chance to become part of the Hall of Fame. As many as eight can make it, but likely the number will be short of that, somewhere in the neighborhood of six or seven.

One of those that will be under consideration is former Chiefs guard Will Shields. Without a doubt, Shields will gain induction to the Hall. He was one of the NFL’s best players in the 1990s and early 2000s. Everyone with a vote in that room knows the facts of his career.

So why hasn’t he already been voted in? …Read More!

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