One of the best guards of his generation has been cut.
A fixture on the Chiefs' offensive line for more than a decade, Brian Waters was released on Thursday, the team announced.
"Brian has played a key role in our progress and I am personally grateful for his contributions to this team", Chiefs GM Scott Pioli said in a statement released by the team. "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."
Waters originally signed with Kansas City in 2000 after entering the NFL as a rookie free agent with Dallas in 1999. Since becoming a full-time starter midway through the '01 season, Waters missed only three starts through last season.
"I'd like to thank the entire Chiefs organization, especially for giving me an opportunity as a young player when other teams wouldn't," Waters said in a statement. I'm grateful for the coaches, teammates and support staff who helped me become the player and man I am today. I'd also like to thank the fans of Kansas City who cheered us on. The Chiefs and I have mutually agreed on this decision and although I look forward to continuing my career, I'll always have a special place in my heart for Kansas City."
He also was a four-time Pro Bowler and a two-time first-team All Pro selection.
Head coach Todd Haley added: "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."
Waters also had been extremely active in the NFLPA's fight against the owners during the recently ended lockout. Still, Chiefs CEO and team chairman Clark Hunt — who was one of the main figures in the owners' labor battle — said he had nothing but respect for the longest-tenured Chief.
"My family and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Brian both as a player and a person, and we wish him the best in the future," Hunt said. "From his performance on the field over the years to being named the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2009, Brian has been an outstanding member of the Chiefs organization, and when he is ready to retire, we'll welcome him back to do so as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs."
The way we see it
The handwriting appeared to be on the wall as Waters had started to fade a bit last season. He still has a chance to play in the NFL and is not by any means washed up at 34. But the Chiefs plan to go younger up front with rookie Rodney Hudson starting at center and second-year OG Jon Asamoah perhaps taking Waters' spot in the lineup.