Most of the Chiefs’ top stars were drafted by Pioli’s predecessor, Carl Peterson. The former Patriots executive struggled to find impact players, particularly at quarterback, while cycling through coaches and fostering a climate of dread within the entire organization.
Numerous longtime staff members were fired upon Pioli’s arrival, and his inability to connect with fans resulted in unprecedented unrest. Some of the fans even paid for multiple banners to be towed behind planes before home games asking that he be fired.
On Dec. 1, linebacker Jovan Belcher shot the mother of his 3-month-old daughter, Kasandra Perkins, at a home not far from Arrowhead Stadium. Belcher then drove to the team’s practice facility and shot himself in the head as Pioli and Crennel watched in the parking lot.
Pioli hasn’t spoken publicly since the incident.
‘‘The bottom line is that I did not accomplish all of what I set out to do,’’ Pioli said in a statement released through by team. ‘‘To the Hunt family — to the great fans of Kansas City — to the players, all employees and alumni, I truly apologize for not getting the job done.’’
The three-time NFL executive of the year often spoke of putting together ‘‘the right 53,’’ but he failed to do so, and now it falls on Reid and his staff to finish the job.
The most glaring position of need is quarterback.
Matt Cassel has two years left on a $63 million, six-year deal, but he played so poorly this season he was benched in favor of Brady Quinn, who is now a free agent.
It’s expected that the Chiefs will pursue a veteran quarterback while also choosing one in the draft, giving Reid options in training camp. Reid has a history of success working with young quarterbacks, including Brett Favre in Green Bay and Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia.
Decisions will also have to be made about left tackle Branden Albert, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and even Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt, all of whom can become free agents.
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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