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Chiefs’ Steve Spagnuolo further explains Taco Charlton cut decision

Charlton was the first surprise cut of the 2021 preseason.

Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs cut their roster down to 80 players on Monday, with the most notable release being that of defensive end Taco Charlton.

“Taco is going to play in the league,” head coach Andy Reid said during his press availability on Monday. “He’s too good of a player not to. It just didn’t work out in this case — and the way these cuts are set up, it’s a little different than in years past, so you have to make these decisions. That obviously was a tougher decision. I’m hoping he hooks on with somebody or maybe eventually comes back here. But right now, just that he hooks on and continues to make a living at this.”

On Tuesday, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo weighed in on the 26-year-old.

“Those are hard decisions, first of all,” acknowledged Spagnuolo. “Like when I texted him [Monday] — because I didn’t get a chance to see him in the morning, but I had texted him to remember that he helped us win an AFC championship — and sometimes, this happens in the league. But I think more than anything, some of the other guys jumped up and did a nice job. I think what was good, I thought (general manager) Brett (Veach) made a good point: we give Taco a chance to maybe catch on with another team, so I wish him the best.”

For the 53-man roster under Spagnuolo in both 2019 and 2020, the Chiefs have kept 10 defensive linemen. The numbers wedged Charlton out of the mix.

“You got the next group of guys there — you got Demoane (Harris), you got Tim (Ward), you got Josh (Kaindoh). Right? You got a bunch of guys battling for positions.”

Second-year defensive end Mike Danna is another player who has stood out throughout training camp and the preseason.

“I’ve talked about Mike a lot,” added Spagnuolo. “You guys know how I feel about him — his intelligence, his natural ability. I think what coach Daly and Terry Braden do with him is outstanding. I’ve just seen him — you’re talking about a guy that was at Central Michigan that went to Michigan for a year, and he just keeps doing this, and if he can keep doing that, I think he’s going to help us.”

Charlton, the former 2017 28th overall pick made by the Dallas Cowboys, finishes his Chiefs career with seven tackles and 2.0 sacks. His 2020 season was cut to seven games due to a fractured ankle.

The Chiefs need to cut their roster down to 53 players on August 31.