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Kansas City Chiefs release Pro Bowl OLB Justin Houston

By
Connor Grott
The Kansas City Chiefs will save $14 million on the salary cap by cutting outside linebacker Justin Houston (50). File Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI
The Kansas City Chiefs will save $14 million on the salary cap by cutting outside linebacker Justin Houston (50). File Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | License Photo

March 10 (UPI) -- The Kansas City Chiefs released veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston, the team announced Sunday.

Sources told the NFL Network last Wednesday that Chiefs general manager Brett Veach was shopping Houston around the league. After failing to find a trade partner due in part to his $15.25 million base salary, the team will cut him prior to the start of free agency Wednesday.

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Kansas City saves $14 million on the salary cap by cutting Houston, leaving $7.1 million in dead money.

"Over the last eight seasons we've had the ability to watch Justin grow into a leader on and off the playing field," Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement. "His passion helped him become one of the most successful pass rushers in franchise history. We appreciate his contributions to our team and community and he'll always be considered a part of the Chiefs family."

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The Chiefs originally selected Houston in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He played in 102 games (96 starts) during his eight seasons with the franchise and registered 377 total tackles, 78.5 sacks, 14 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries.

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"Justin has made a lasting impact on this franchise and I can't thank him enough for his contributions over the years," Veach said. "These decisions are never easy. I have a great deal of respect for Justin as a player and person and I wish him and his family the best moving forward."

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The 30-year-old Houston had 37 tackles and nine sacks in 12 games last season. He added two sacks in the postseason. He is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and earned All-Pro honors in 2014.

Houston ranks fourth on the Chiefs' all-time sacks list, trailing only Derrick Thomas (126.5), Tamba Hali (89.5) and Neil Smith (85.5).

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