Tamba Hali makes Kansas City Chiefs a better team

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Oct 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) celebrates after sacking Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 17-16. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

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The Kansas City Chiefs did some great maneuvering this offseason to bring in some higher quality players to improve the weakened roster spots. However, don’t underestimate the importance of Kansas City retaining  one of its core players Tamba Hali.

Of course this wasn’t all the Chiefs’ doing. Hali took a $7 million pay cut to help his home team find a way to keep him on the roster. “In today’s football, it’s very rare to have a player of Tamba’s pedigree stay at one organization,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said.

“In today’s football, it’s very rare to have a player of Tamba’s pedigree stay at one organization.”

There were some heading into the draft thinking the Chiefs would be better off trying to trade Hali for some additional picks or a player to fill a hole. Hali can be overlooked in the big picture, and I can see why some would not see his value. Maybe it’s because he just turned 31 years old and had his second-lowest sack total of his career. Or maybe it’s because Hali has only sacked Peyton Manning once during Manning’s tenure with the Broncos. Or perhaps it’s the fact that Hali has only two sacks (both against Baltimore) total in his three playoff game appearances.

Hali may not be a top-10 sack leader every season, but he still is a top-10 pass rusher year in and year out. I don’t know if I could name another man that gets held as much as Hali does, it’s almost comical. Yet he still finds a way to at least be within vicinity of the quarterback when he’s releasing the ball just about every down. Not impressed? Well consider this: since 2006 only Charles Tillman has forced more fumbles than Hali has. That’s remarkable, he’s never had one season where he didn’t get a forced fumble.

The Chiefs retaining Hali was a wise investment because not only does he offer a top-notch work ethic  filled with passion, but he also offers leadership to a young football team that’s still growing up. When you take a look at the teams that generally make it to the playoffs, you’re usually talking about a team that has some leadership on both sides of the ball. Veteran leadership is critical, especially when you look at the development of a young promising pass rusher like Dee Ford.

When interviewed about the organization, Hali replied,

“I’ve made this my home,” he said. “I’ve been here through all of the tough times, different head coaches. For me personally, being here and playing for this organization in front of these fans, that was huge to me. I couldn’t find myself playing for anyone else.”

Next: The greatness of Tamba...