KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Andy Reid was confident this would be the first time in three years coaching the Kansas City Chiefs that a number of players who failed to make his team would catch on elsewhere.
It didn’t take long for him to be proven correct.
With a glut of talent in the defensive backfield, the Chiefs traded Kelcie McCray to the Seattle Seahawks for an undisclosed draft pick Saturday as they trimmed to the 53-man limit.
The Chiefs also released former draft pick Eric Kush, who began training camp as the starting center, and defensive end Mike Catapano, who overcame an illness to work his way into the mix.
"That’s the worst part of your job, letting guys go that have been out here," Reid said. "It’s different now, too, in that you have all of these days in the offseason so you get to know them even more than what it used to be. I think as we go, a lot of these guys are going to have opportunities with other teams, whether it’s a practice squad position or making the team."
That was hardly the case when Reid took over the team. The Chiefs were coming off a 2-14 season that led to the ouster of general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel, and were so desperate for talent that they signed seven players off waivers.
Now, the Chiefs are one of the teams putting players on the market for other teams.
"We’re at a level all across the roster where guys can compete," current GM John Dorsey said.
Other notable cuts Saturday included linebacker veteran James-Michael Johnson; massive defensive linemen David Irving and Hebron Fangupo; wide receivers Da’Ron Brown and Fred Williams; defensive backs Kevin Short and Deji Olatoye; and tight end Ryan Taylor.
Top cornerback Sean Smith was placed on the reserve-suspended list after a drunken driving arrest last year resulted in a three-game suspension, while veteran tight end Richard Gordon was placed on injured reserve after missing most of camp.
The Chiefs did not keep an undrafted free agent this year, ending a streak of 11 straight with at least one on the roster. The best possibility for continuing that run, linebacker Justin March, was placed on injured reserve after hurting his knee in a preseason game.
Kansas City wound up keeping six wide receivers, with Frankie Hammond beating out Williams based largely on his special teams play in one of the tightest competitions of camp.
The Chiefs also kept eight offensive linemen, a mild surprise given that left tackle Eric Fisher has been out with a sprained ankle and right guard Jeff Allen with a sprained knee. Reid expressed optimism that Fisher would be available for the season opener Sunday at Houston, but he sounded less enthusiastic that Allen would be back anytime soon.
"I think Allen’s is worse than his, so I can’t tell you about Allen," Reid said after the Chiefs’ preseason finale in St. Louis, "but I think (Fisher) will be back."