After the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, i went down to the locker room as I usually do to hear what the players had to say about the game. Some were upset. Some were frustrated. No one had any answers.
One of the biggest questions following the game was the future of Matt Cassel, the former starting quarterback in Kansas City.
Cassel did not speak at the podium after the game. That's reserved for the starting quarterback, something Brady Quinn handled on Sunday. Cassel stood at his locker and took questions from the media, answering them the way he usually does.
But something was different. Cassel seemed resigned to believing this was it for him. He was soft-spoken.
"I don't know what my future holds," Cassel said, who didn't want to discuss his future.
He indicated that Brady Quinn would likely have the starting job next week, though Romeo Crennel said he hasn't made that decision yet. Cassel said he didn't know for sure but the way he talked it seemed to me that he knew it was likely over.
Romeo Crennel pulled both Cassel and Quinn aside at halftime and told them that it would be Quinn, not Cassel, finishing out the game. Cassel said he did not anticipate that happening, despite the Chiefs struggling offense.
Quinn didn't make much of a difference in the game. In fact, looking at each of their lines, it's like they're the same quarterback:
Quinn: 9-of-14, 95 yards, 0 TDs
Cassel: 8-of-16, 93 yards, 0 TDs
Quinn or Cassel, Cassel or Quinn...it doesn't matter. We all know that by now. Neither player is the future in Kansas City, and neither should feel comfortable about being on the roster next season.
But the dynamic between the two quarterbacks is interesting. You have Cassel, who has been the unquestioned starter for three-plus years, his time about to end. You have Quinn, who hasn't played meaningful football in three years, hoping his career will be reignited.
But, really, they're the same guy, just in different places.
On his way out of the locker room, Cassel stopped to shake Quinn's hand. They talked briefly, hugged and said goodbye.
They were only saying goodbye for the day, but watching that image of Cassel carrying his bag and walking out of the locker room will stick with me, the moment Cassel became expendable and his time in Kansas City had run out.