Chiefs release OLB Houston

Chiefs release OLB Houston

After being unable to find a trade partner for him, the Kansas City Chiefs are releasing veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter.

But the six-year, $101 million contract Houston signed in 2015 made it hard for the Chiefs to keep him, and they had been seeking a trade, general manager Brett Veach recently told the Kansas City Star.

Houston has been with the Chiefs since the 2011 season when he was drafted in the third round. Now, according to FanSided's Matt Verderame, the Chiefs have released the four-time Pro Bowler. The Chiefs began a big-time turnaround under newly hired head coach Andy Reid and Houston set a career best with 11 sacks. Teams balked at picking up Houston's salary for 2019 at a time when other general managers felt the Chiefs had to part ways with Houston for cap purposes.

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The Statesboro, Georgia, native, recorded 22.0 sacks in 2014, setting a franchise single-season record passing the late Derrick Thomas' previous mark of 20.0 set in 1990.

"Justin Houston is a great player", Veach told the Kansas City Star at the National Football League combine. After trying to restructure the contract to no avail, the Chiefs thought it would be best to release Houston, who spent his first eight seasons with the team. "We appreciate his contributions to our team and community". "I have a great deal of respect for Justin as a player and person and I wish him and his family the best moving forward". He played in seven playoff games (six starts) with the club, recording 19 tackles (16 solo), 4.0 sacks (-23.0 yards) and two fumble recoveries. "His passion helped him become one the most successful pass rushers in franchise history".

"These decisions are never easy", Veach said. "I certainly think there will be a lot of names from those defensive players called early on".

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