Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 5/23/12
The Chiefs tried to chase after Peyton Manning when he became available as a free agent, but the quarterback was not interested in talking with them. In preparation for the 2012 NFL Draft the team spent many dollars and hours evaluating Ryan Tannehill, a prospect that was selected three slots ahead of them in the first round. Even after those very public dances with other quarterbacks, Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli says his commitment to Matt Cassel as his team's starting quarterback is unwavering. "I think that we have a really good quarterback," Pioli said. "He's a good starting NFL quarterback. And I hear the numbers and I hear trends and you can look at certain statistics and put them in any direction you want to support a position or an argument. "I hear a lot of noise. I don't understand it. I don't necessarily get it. He's a competitor and he's a winner. He's had production. There are good quarterbacks in this division. It takes teams to win a division. It takes teams to win a championship." Pioli helped create some of the offseason noise with the organization's public comments about Manning and multiple meetings and workouts with Tannehill. All that had the long-suffering Chiefs' fans wondering if they were going to see yet another change at quarterback, a position the franchise hasn't gotten entirely correct since the days of Hall of Famer Len Dawson. Now, he's saying he was just window shopping, and that he really had eyes for no other quarterback but Cassel. "Look at the history of the Kansas City Chiefs, you look at a quarterback by the name of Len Dawson -- a first-round pick, didn't play for five years, was trying to be run out of this league and couldn't get a job, couldn't get a start," Pioli said. "And he's without the doubt the greatest quarterback in the history of this franchise. "I think as he gets more opportunities, Matt is gonna continue to show people that he's a good NFL quarterback ... Matt is good enough to win a championship with. I was with Matt in an 11-win season in New England, a 10-win season (with the Chiefs) in 2010." For his part, Cassel has spent the offseason working hard at learning and adapting to yet another new offense. Since the 2008 season in New England where he started 15 games for the injured Tom Brady, Cassel has seen a different offensive coordinator each year: -- 2008: Josh McDaniels (with New England). -- 2009: Chan Gailey and then Todd Haley with Chiefs. -- 2010: Charlie Weis. -- 2011: Bill Muir. -- 2012: Brian Daboll. "In terms of formation and protections, I've had to get up to speed on a lot of different terminology I haven't used before," Cassel told NFL.com. "It's been fun. It's allowed me to get back in the book, be like a rookie again. It's a different mentality than in the past." Cassel missed the last six games of the 2011 season after suffering a broken hand. Since joining the Chiefs in 2009, he has an 18-21 record as the starting quarterback. The bulk of the huge 63 million deal he got three years ago has already been paid out. It's time for that payday to result in more victories and a winning effort in the playoffs, something the Chiefs haven't had since January 1994. "With everything that went on last season, we were one game away," Cassel said of the Chiefs' 7-9 finish in the AFC West, won by Denver with an 8-8 record. "That tells me there's a lot of promise and I know there's a lot of optimism." NOTES, QUOTES -- From the moment that Devon Wylie was drafted by the Chiefs, the words "Wes Welker" have been part of the paragraph describing his potential in the Kansas City offense and special teams. It started because they are so similar in size. Welker is 5-9, 185 pounds; Wylie is 5-9, 187 pounds. Wylie was assigned No. 83 by the Chiefs, the same number worn by Welker. Said Wylie, "I requested a number in the teens and this was one of the only 80s numbers available. It's just what was given to me. I'm just rolling with it." He only had to roll with it for three days before the club changed Wylie to No. 19. -- To wrap up the team's rookie minicamp, nine players from the Chiefs' past were invited for the final lunch to speak with the rookies and other new players. Hall of Famers Willie Lanier, Len Dawson, Bobby Bell, Jan Stenerud and Emmitt Thomas, as well as former Chiefs players Deron Cherry, Willie Davis, Danan Hughes and Will Shields joined 30-plus current players. "We want to expose the rookies to some of the tradition and the history of the Chiefs," head coach Romeo Crennel said. "I think that's an appropriate way to introduce them to the Chiefs and to the history, this being the 50th anniversary of the Chiefs being in Kansas City. I hope it leads to something good for us." -- Team chairman Clark Hunt unveiled the team's plans to celebrate the 50th season of Chiefs football. It's an eight-prong initiative to celebrate the move of the franchise to Kansas City for the 1963 American Football League season. It will include a caravan through Kansas and Missouri with players and former players. There will be recognition of 50 top Kansas City community contributors. "We want to say thank you to the best fans in the NFL," said Hunt. "We want to show our deep gratitude to this community and how proud we are to be Kansas City's Chiefs." QUOTE TO NOTE: "What's the goal? Are you worried about who you are sending to the Pro Bowl or are you concerned about winning championships? Matt is good enough to win a championship with." -- Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli on starting quarterback Matt Cassel.
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