The edge-rusher later confirmed the news to ESPN’s Adam Teicher, saying, “It’s not about the numbers for me.”
"It’s about whether the situation makes sense for them because I want to be there and play for the Chiefs. The general manager [John Dorsey] and coach [Andy] Reid, they know I want to be there. That’s why I say it’s a matter of how I fit into what the Chiefs want to do for the season. …They’re talking numbers so I’m optimistic I’ll still be there."
The nine-year vet is entering the final year of his contract and, under the original terms, is scheduled to pocket $12 million. However, seeing as his production dipped last season and the Chiefs are still over the cap ceiling, Hali knows that the front office wasn’t about to honor that number—especially when his release would create $9 million in cap space.
Having said that, No. 91 could’ve easily waited for his release and hit the free-agency market, where he would’ve collected another multi-year deal; when he says that it’s not about the numbers for him, he means it.
While it’s increasingly rare to see stars put the team’s best interest before their own, it’s even rarer that they grow up inside of a war zone. At age 10, Hali left a place, Liberia, where he was ducking hails of bullets from rebel-owned airplanes. And while he became an on-field standout at Penn State, he likely didn’t feel any sense of security until hearing his name called with the 20th pick of the 2006 draft.
Over the course of his two contracts, Hali’s life did a 180-degree turn.
The Chiefs didn’t draft him due to his backstory, but they took a chance an undersized “tweener,” and it paid off. Although no one would blame him for cashing in elsewhere, it sounds like this is Hali’s way of paying it forward.
Contract information provided by Spotrac.
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