On Tuesday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs announced that they have released linebacker Anthony Hitchens.
Super Bowl LIV Champion. Team Captain.— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 22, 2022
Thank you, Hitch ❤️ pic.twitter.com/CJeTfP9vRJ
Hitchens, 29, signed with the Chiefs in 2018 after spending the first four seasons of his career with the Dallas Cowboys. During his four-year tenure with the Chiefs, the linebacker compiled 381 tackles (217 solo), including 17 tackles for loss. He also added 2.0 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
The man whom Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo called the “glue” of the Chiefs’ defense, Hitchens helped lead the Chiefs to four straight AFC title games, two AFC championships and the Super Bowl LIV title.
In their press notice on the release, both general manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid thanked Hitchens for his efforts.
VEACH: “When I first became General Manager, one of the first moves I wanted to make was to bring in Anthony Hitchens from Dallas. We knew how intelligent, hard working and consistent he was as a player, and we knew he’d become a selfless leader. He was that and more. He has all the intangibles and was an integral piece in our franchise winning a Super Bowl title. We appreciate everything he’s done for the organization and wish him the best as he continues his career.”
REID: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to coach Anthony over the last four years. He’s as tough as they come in this league and is a team-first player. I appreciate the way he came to work, ready to do his part, but also his willingness to teach the younger guys around him.”
The Chiefs selected linebacker Nick Bolton in the second round of last year’s NFL Draft, opening the door to release the veteran, whose departure will save the Chiefs approximately $8.4 million in cap space, giving them approximately $11.7 million to work with, as of now — but more cap-related moves are likely coming.
To Hitchens’ credit, despite knowing that Bolton’s progress would likely mean the end of his Chiefs’ tenure, he worked diligently to prepare him and teach him the role. Hitchens’ release before the official start of unrestricted free agency gives him a chance to catch on with another club that can be a fit.