View Full Version : Liz Merrill - Maslowski reluctantly let go

Hammock Parties
08-24-2005, 01:17 AM

Popular linebacker could return when knee heals

Maslowski reluctantly let go


The Kansas City Star

The nameplate on Mike Maslowski’s corner locker was still hanging Tuesday along with his No. 57 jersey and a safari hat that he wore in the rare moments when he wasn’t running and trying to rehab his knee.

Maslowski, at least for now, is gone.

The popular Chiefs linebacker, who went from Division III to NFL Europe to Kansas City’s 2002 tackle leader, was cut Tuesday to make roster room for backup quarterback Jonathan Quinn. Maslowski hasn’t played since week 10 of the 2003 season because of a serious knee injury, and he had surgery to remove a plate in the knee last week.

Few breakups are this amicable. And painful. President/general manager Carl Peterson made the announcement of Maslowski’s release after practice Tuesday, saying he doesn’t normally talk about waiving a player, “but this guy deserves it.”

The Chiefs issued a 542-word release on the cut. Just before the announcement, Peterson had a friendly phone call with Maslowski’s agent, Joe Linta.

“I don’t get the sense that it is (over),” Linta said. “He said to me this quote: ‘Call me the day he’s ready to go.’

“Nobody’s mad at anybody. It’s just a bad deal caused by no one. I expect to call Carl Sept. 15.”

Maslowski was the feel-good story of the 2002 season, the head-shaven, goatee-wearing Wisconsinite who broke a franchise record with 162 tackles. He made the leap from the small town of Thorp, Wis., to Wisconsin-LaCrosse to NFL Europe. He made 31 starts, had 311 tackles, and, according to Peterson, was the heart and soul of the Chiefs’ defense.

When Maslowski went down in 2003, the defense went down, too. The Chiefs started 9-0 that season but lost four of their last eight, giving up 38 points to Indianapolis in the playoffs.

Just one other professional athlete has come back from a tibial osteotomy, the radical surgery Maslowski underwent in September 2004. Detroit Red Wing center Steve Yzerman returned six months after his surgery.

“I wouldn’t bet against Mike Maslowski,” Peterson said.

Cutting Maslowski now frees him to re-sign with the team when he’s ready. If he had been placed on the physically unable to perform list, he couldn’t return until week six. If Maslowski does come back to Kansas City, he’ll have more competition than in 2003.

The Chiefs are now loaded with linebackers. Rich Scanlon and Boomer Grigsby are fighting for roster spots in the middle. Third-year player Kawika Mitchell — who replaced Maslowski — has earned kudos from the coaching staff for his offseason development.

“Maz, from the get-go, always helped me out whenever I needed it,” Mitchell said. “You always hear bad stories about people treating you certain ways if you’re trying to take their spot. But he was never like that. He was about winning.”

As the players streamed into the locker room after meetings, some had yet to hear about Maslowski’s release late Tuesday.

When cornerback Eric Warfield heard the news, he said, “You’re kidding me.”

But Maslowski’s fate, at least for now, seemed inevitable in late July, when he wasn’t cleared to participate in training camp. Doctors had added the plate in his knee for stability, Linta said. It actually added to his pain.

Linta said Maslowski wasn’t in the mood to talk Tuesday.

Maslowski told a member of the Chiefs PR staff that he was lying low. He declined interviews throughout the summer. He said he didn’t want to talk until he knew he was back.

“It’s sad,” Warfield said, “but yet it’s part of the business. My day’s going to come sometime. Everybody’s going to have their day. With guys like that, those are the guys you’d like to leave with.”
Seahawks at Chiefs

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A top tackler

Mike Maslowski’s best season was in 2002. He did not play in 2004.

Year G Tackles Sacks INT
1999 15 1 0 0
2000 16 59 2 0
2001 8 10 1 0
2002 16 162 1 3
2003 10 79 0 0
Totals 65 311 4 3

Hammock Parties
08-24-2005, 01:19 AM
Here are some non-Maz updates from CJ Online:

The Chiefs returned to the practice field Tuesday at their indoor facility with nearly a full complement of players.

Taking full reps with the first-team offense was guard Will Shields, who had been out with a back injury since the first day of the Wisconsin training camp. Tight end Tony Gonzalez also was catching passes with a splint on his broken pinky finger.

Also returning after being out a week or more were backup tight end Jason Dunn, safety Jerome Woods, defensive tackle Junior Siavii and defensive end Carlos Hall, who had missed almost three weeks with a triceps injury.

Linebacker Kendrell Bell participated in everything but live-speed team drills that involved contact as the Chiefs continued to be cautious.

Hammock Parties
08-24-2005, 01:21 AM
OK, the fact that Maslowski didn't want to talk makes this all seem a little more sad. Is there any way his rehab ends in success?

08-24-2005, 07:37 AM
Couldn't practice, It was going to happen. Hope he can comeback eventually and this isn't career ending.

Like to see team player that are all about winning.
No matter who the play for.

Dr. Johnny Fever
08-24-2005, 08:00 AM
We love you Maz. We could use more like you.

Hammock Parties
08-24-2005, 10:33 AM
Another bump for last night's article.