A day after making their first big move in free agency, the Kansas City Chiefs made one of the more surprising moves in the Todd Haley/Scott Pioli era by releasing veteran G Brian Waters.
The longest tenured member of the Chiefs helped anchor the line that produced the NFL’s leading rushing attack. He was also heavily involved in the labor dispute between the owners and players. How much both of those things weighed on the mind of Pioli leading up to making this move we will never know.
For his part, the General Manager released a statement praising Water’s work with the Chiefs while saying this is the best move for all parties.
“He and I had a good discussion and mutually agreed that this is a sound football decision for both Brian and the Chiefs. Brian has been an integral part of this organization and will always be part of the Kansas City Chiefs. We wish him nothing but the best.”
Haley and Waters reportedly clashed immediately following the head coach landing in Kansas City, but in the same statement was effusive in his praise for his now former player.
“I truly appreciate Brian’s professionalism and consistent approach to the game on and off the field. That was of great significance especially while trying to create a solid foundation for this football team. I know his work ethic and competitiveness will allow him to continue to be successful and I want to thank him for his contributions to our team.”
The Chiefs are now staring at a huge leadership void on both sides of the ball. Mike Vrabel’s retirement and Waters’ release remove two of the most veteran players from the 2010 AFC West champions.
This move also officially ushers in the Jon Asamoah era. The second-year guard was impressive in limited duty last season, but will now have huge shoes to fill as the presumed starter at right guard. With the Chiefs unable to hold OTAs thanks to the lockout, there will be a huge spotlight on Asamoah and the other young players being asked to take big steps forward in 2011.