Multiple sources are saying that the Kansas City Chiefs have released controversial right tackle, Eric Winston, as the team continues its flurry of roster activity this week. The Chiefs began the week by signing two key free agents, receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt, to long-term deals and franchised tackle Branden Albert on Monday.
On Tuesday, they reportedly reworked defensive end Tyson Jackson’s $17.5 million 2013 contract to something sane and saved a boatload of cash and salary cap space. They are expected to release quarterback Matt Cassel, saving themselves another huge chunk of cap space – and mercifully allowing Cassel to continue his career somewhere where fans don’t spit his name when they talk.
And now, they have reportedly jettisoned Winston, a player that came to symbolize the disastrous 2012 Chiefs season with unrealized expectations, poor play and penalties at the worst of times, and a giant foot in his mouth that fans will remember 20 years from now like former quarterback Steve Bono’s too-honest assessment of KC cuisine. It is still a bit unclear how much money – if any – the Chiefs will save by cutting Winston.
Releasing Winston raises questions since he only completed one year of a four-year contract signed last season. Rumors are starting to float around on the Internet that Winston may have injury concerns but nothing has been confirmed.
Winston gained notoriety forever in Kansas City last season when he called the behavior of a handful of fans “disgusting” after Cassel was knocked out of a game against the Baltimore Ravens. Though anyone in the stands that day will tell you that there was a small group of idiots that cheered Cassel’s injury, Winston’s post-game rant made it sound like all 70,000 fans cheered wildly as Cassel was led off the field dazed. The national media scooped up the story and spent the next few weeks trashing the fans of Kansas City at every opportunity.
Like everything else, the story faded from the national spotlight, but it will burn forever in the hearts and minds of KC fans. However, the more Scott Pioli-picked players that the current Chiefs front office crop off the roster, the better fans’ moods will get.
Despite the unfortunate rant after the Ravens game, Winston was one of the really good guys on the team even as the season was going off the cliff. This off-season, Winston appeared on several radio shows discussing what happened and showed a wonderful self-depricating sense of humor about what he said. It is the hope here that he is not injured and can go somewhere and find success.
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