The Morning Fix

“He’s never been on a team longer than three years,” Richardson said last week. “It seems like every time he has a good year, he’s gone. I don’t know what that’s about. But if you know anything about T. J., you know he prefers it that way.”

In the last three weeks of the season, Chambers has started but wasn’t targeted against the Seahawks; was inactive against the Broncos in Week 13; and made one catch for ten yards in garbage time last week against the San Diego Chargers.

The Chiefs’ young players are paying attention to all of it: the good and bad, the memorable moments such as Smith’s rushing touchdown two weeks ago, and the ones so easy to forget, such as Smith’s constant hollering — which happens so often that it now just fades into the background. He has been a surprise on the field, too: Smith has been a solid run-stopper for the Chiefs, and he’ll be counted on heavily today when Kansas City plays St. Louis and tries to stop Steven Jackson.

In that context, here comes Cassel, that smile and toughness now much easier to believe in, and if he’s cleared by the Chiefs this morning — it’ll apparently be the fastest return from an appendectomy by any quarterback in NFL history. It’s admittedly a small sample size, and technology gets better all the time, but it’s also true that Ben Roethlisberger took 15 days between his appendectomy and first game back in 2006.

This sets up so well for Cassel. We’ve bashed him for his worst, appreciated him for his best, and now have a glimpse of what the team looks like without him.

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