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Chiefs QB Matt Cassel On Criticisms, Game Managers And More

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Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison of 610 Sports landed an interview with Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel on Monday. We know Cassel is a fairly private person and, even as Chiefs fans, we don't know a whole lot about him after three-plus years.

He said that it doesn't really bother him that others don't know a lot about him but he did go down a few personal things about himself, including: his mom, a set designer, has won an Emmy; his two brothers both play baseball; he rode a horse to school when he was younger; he lived through the earthquake in California; he likes all kinds of music, including rap and rock.

"I felt like if people needed to know so much about me then I'd let them know," Cassel said. "It is important for people to know that there is a different side to me than just football and there's a different side to me than just the Matt Cassel you see when I'm up at a podium and questions are being posed to you."

And so Danny Parkins said before Cassel came on that he was going to "humanize" him. Check out the audio of the interview to see if Danny succeeded.

I pulled out a few quotes from the interview, which is really good and worth your time to listen to the whole thing. Parkins asked Cassel about a lot of the criticism he's received from the media, including from Parkins himself.
Parkins: Do you read the stuff that's written about you?

Cassel: I do not.

Parkins: Do you listen to any of the stuff that's said about you?

Cassel: No if I listen to you, especially probably you, I'm guessing you're my worst critic...

Parkins: No, I'm not your worst. But I am a critic.

Harrison: How do you do it? How do you focus all of that out? How do you tune it out? In our profession, we don't get half the criticism you get and you've managed to stay above it.

Cassel: You have to stay above it. You have to keep your head out of the media. You can't read everything said about you or listen to everything said about you because it's still just an opinion. To be able to do your job at its best, you can't continue to have negative thoughts come in, you can't second guess yourself. You just have to go out there and do what's best for you not only as a player but also as a person and get yourself as focused as possible to lead a team to victory. And that's what I tried to do. It wasn't something I came up with. When I was younger I used to read everything. When I was in preseason I used to read every tidbit that was written about me and then Doug Flutie was the guy who told me you shouldn't read any of that stuff. Good or bad, you should just maintain focus on the job at hand and that'll keep you steady going down the right path because from one month to the next, from one week to the next, all those opinions can change and so when someone is saying something bad about you one day, maybe the next day they're saying something good. So you always have to maintain that general focus about what you're doing.

Harrison: Thinking on it Matt, you're a guy at USC who didn't start. You go to the Patriots, Tom Brady goes down and you start. And then coming to Kansas City and being the new guy and getting the big contract, it feels like criticism has defined your career. It would be hard not to use that as motivation to prove people like me and Danny wrong.

Cassel: Just the fact that I didn't play at USC and had to sit there for a long time, I've had to earn everything I've had in my career. I've had to claw tooth and nail just to get onto that team with the Patriots. When I came tot hat team there were five quarterbacks on the roster. i was the last one on the roster. That's the only way I know how to work, the only mentality I've ever known. Go out there and work hard and not worry about all the rest of the stuff.

Parkins: You say I'm your harshest critic, which I don't think is necessarily true. But I'll tell you to you what I said on the air. It's that I think it's a quarterback league and it's very tough to win a Super Bowl with a game manager, non-elite quarterback. They can do it one time but it's tough to get there year after year. My thing with the Chiefs has been, and it's partly not even your fault, they haven't brought in other guys and they've treated you as this elite, franchise quarterback when, maybe it is, maybe it isn't, time will tell, do you think that criticism would be fair or not?

Cassel: Well, define game manager.

Parkins: A guy who's not going to go out there and win a game because of you.

Cassel: Right. I guess one of my questions would be...were you talking about my entire career here? Or my entire career in general?

Parkins: Kansas City.

Cassel: It's interesting to me because I think that's a big part of what a quarterback has to do is manage the game. But also you have to use the weapons that you have out there and use them well. And sometimes, if we're talking about Jamaal Charles and what's going on with him, we might hand him off the ball 25 times a game and ask me to throw the ball a little less because that's what we have to do is create mismatches and go after mismatches. [Cassel's phone is ringing on air. He apologizes and moves on.] But at the same time do I think I can go out there and win ball games? Absolutely. Do I want the ball in my hands in the fourth quarter with two minutes left? Absolutely. Have I done it before? Absolutely. The two years that I've started full seasons I've won 10-plus games, which is hard to do. I've proven, whether it's with the Patriots or also here in 2010 specifically that we can win ball games and we can win a lot of ball games and when it comes down to crunch time I've been able to perform.

Parkins: Can you win a Super Bowl?

Cassel: Only time will tell. It's hard to win a Super Bowl. You look across the league and you look at a lot of great quarterbacks, it takes great quarterbacks a long time to win Super Bowls, let alone just one and continue to do it on a continuous basis. There are a lot of things that have to fall into place. Do I think we can? Absolutely.