(KANSAS CITY, Mo.)— The Kansas City Chiefs have released linebacker Justin Houston.
“Justin has made a lasting impact on this franchise and I can’t thank him enough for his contributions over the years,” Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said. “These decisions are never easy. I have a great deal of respect for Justin as a player and person and I wish him and his family the best moving forward.”
The organization announced the move Sunday afternoon.
“I’ve been fortunate to get to know Justin over the last six seasons, and not only is he a talented football player, but he’s a tremendous person,” Head coach Andy Reid said. “He really helped set the tone, and I appreciate the work he put in with us. I wish him the best as he continues his career.”
The Chiefs drafted Houston in the third-round (70th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Houston played in 102 games—96 starts—in eight seasons with Kansas City. He racked up 377 tackles (316 solo), 96 tackles for loss, 78.5 sacks, 14 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries.
“Over the last eight seasons we’ve had the ability to watch Justin grow into a leader on and off the playing field,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “His passion helped him become one the most successful pass rushers in franchise history. We appreciate his contributions to our team and community and he’ll always be considered a part of the Chiefs family.”
Houston recorded 22 sacks in 2014—setting a franchise single-season record—passing the late Derrick Thomas' previous record of 20 set in 1990.
By releasing Houston, the Chiefs save about $14 million in cap space.