Chiefs releasing Anthony Hitchens signal new era with linebackers Nick Bolton, Willie Gay – The Athletic

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The start of Anthony Hitchens’ tenure with the Chiefs began with him accepting the responsibility of replacing Derrick Johnson, the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles. Hitchens’ fourth and final chapter with the team ended on Tuesday, following a season in which he played a role that Alex Smith filled in 2017: teaching your replacement.

The Chiefs made the logical decision to release Hitchens, a move that freed up $8.4 million in salary cap space, funds that should help bolster the team’s languid defensive line.

As the Chiefs’ most experienced linebacker, Hitchens was never known as a flashy defenseman. Instead, he was a constant presence, a team captain in the middle of the Chiefs’ defense, a unit that gave its best in the most critical moments of the team’s championship in 2019. The Chiefs hope that their next championship will feature Nick Bolton. and Willie Gay, younger linebackers who were mentored by Hitchens.

“When I first became general manager (in July 2017), one of the first steps I wanted to take was to bring in Anthony Hitchens from (the) Dallas (Cowboys),” Brett Veach said in a statement. Tuesday across the team. “We knew how smart, hardworking and consistent he was as a player, and we knew he would become a selfless leader. He was that and more.

“He has all the intangibles and was an integral part of our franchise winning a Super Bowl title. We appreciate all he has done for the organization and wish him the best as he pursues his career.

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