Chris Kelsay announced tonight that he’s putting the kabash on his 10 year career with the Buffalo Bills, which probably explains why he hadn’t been included in the rest of the Billsveteran cuts early in the offseason. Kelsay mentioned lingering neck issues and a lack of motivation as major factors in his decision to bow out. I think there’s also a strong chance that it wasn’t exactly optional on Kelsay’s end, and the Bills called it a retirement to honor the 10 year vet for his service.
Speaking of which, it’s kind of nuts when you think about it that Kelsay spent his entire career with us without getting a sniff at the playoffs. Perhaps he was the reason.
Just kidding, sort of. While he was underwhelming relative to his contract number at times, he was generally a solid run defender who also generated steady, if not explosive, pressure off the edge. A few things contributed to Kelsay’s late career status as a whipping boy for Buffalo’s defensive woes: Kelsay, Aaron Schobel, and Ryan Denney were asked to provide the entirety of the Bill’s pass rush during the Dick Jauron era, a pass rush that never bothered opposing quarterbacks enough to make Jauron’s pressure dependent defense click.
When George Edwards came aboard, the Bills made perhaps their worst casting gaffe in recent times by attempting to have Kelsay stand up as a linebacker, which was a good way to embarrass a guy who spent most of his career playing the run and pass rushing.
Just as inexplicable, in the middle of Kelsay’s woes trying to cover athletic tight ends down the field, the Bills gave him a contract extension. I think it probably was a form of restructuring, but I’m not sure anyone fully understood the rationale behind that move.
What Kelsay never got quite enough credit for was being solid if unspectacular at playing the run, a sometimes undervalued trait in today’s NFL. When Kelsay was out with injuries in recent years, the Bills run D was certainly the poorer for it.
In any event, the Bills have now just freed up 5.175 million in cap space, which will likely help the ongoing negotiations with Byrd and Levitre, among others. However, Buffalo also needs another defensive end or two, so Kyle Moore may be a bigger priority.
Chris Kelsay, for better or worse, will be remembered as a central member of a defensive unit that consistently under performed. He may not have been a great player, but he worked hard and played hard, and we can at least respect that. Auf Wiedersehen, Chris.
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