Tamba Hali is the ultimate team player for Kansas City Chiefs


Going into the 2015 campaign, Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali is nearing the close of his wonderful career. Hali, 32, is in the last year of his six-year contract, something that was made possible by his unselfish willingness to take a staggering $7 million pay cut.

Hali knows he is no longer the focal point of the Chiefs defense. With Justin Houston racking up 22 sacks last year and Dontari Poe becoming a dominant nose tackle, Hali is important but perhaps a bit in the shadows. With former first-round choice and second-year pro Dee Ford chomping at the bit for more playing time, Hali could see a lower percentage of snaps. Not surprisingly, Hali is willing to make the sacrifice, per Adam Teicher of ESPN.

"“Look at a guy like [Baltimore’s Elvis] Dumervil,” Hali said. “His role as any every-down player diminished. He didn’t play as much last year but he made more plays. He had 17 sacks playing less last year. I played [most of] the time and I had six sacks. So maybe they’re trying to figure out what works best and what’s best for the team. I would love to be in there for those downs but if it’s beneficial for our team … the goal is the championship.“If the coaches feel maybe I don’t need to play the entire game, they’re going to monitor it because the past couple of years, as the season goes on, my body starts to wear down. They may not want me to wear down. A guy like me, I’ll keep playing until the wheels fall off but that might not be their plan. Their plan might be to find a way to keep me fresh for a long season.”"

Hali dealt with chronic knee pain last year, ultimately getting a scope done in the offseason. The former Penn State star only had six sacks, a number he is hoping to increase.

In the end, it’s refreshing to see such a great player take a team approach.