ST. JOSEPH | The Chiefs capped a busy day of player personnel decisions upon arriving at training camp by releasing five-time Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters.
“This was a mutual decision between us,’’ Waters told The Kansas City Star Thursday night. “We both felt the time was right. There’s no ill will. There’s no bad blood. I think it’s a good move for both parties.’’
Chairman Clark Hunt, general manager Scott Pioli and coach Todd Haley each thanked Waters for his contributions in a statement released by the Chiefs. But Haley, in comments made at the NFL’s annual meetings in March in New Orleans, indicated Waters’ job with the Chiefs could be in peril.
Haley in March began his comments on Waters, 34, by saying he had a "terrific year"’ in 2010. Waters played in the Pro Bowl at the end of the season.
But Haley then added, “Things start to happen to guys when you get to the age where he is. He was recognized by his peers last year (with selection to the Pro Bowl), which was nice.
“You never know how everything is going to go. We’re trying to get better. We’ll do anything and everything to try to create competition with the right kind of guys."
The Chiefs last year drafted guard Jon Asamoah in the third round. He was a backup last season, but the Chiefs believe he is ready for a starting spot and will likely inherit Waters’ job when the Chiefs hold their opening training camp practice this afternoon at Missouri Western State University.
Veteran Ryan Lila is the other starting guard. The Chiefs have veteran Casey Wiegmann at center and drafted Florida State’s Rodney Hudson this year in the second round. Hudson, one of seven Chiefs draft picks to sign his contract Thursday, can play either center or guard.
Waters said he talked with Chiefs officials yesterday. He said his release had nothing to do with any possible lingering animosities after he asked to be traded or released two years ago.
“There’s none of that here,’’ he said. “There’s no animosity, no anger, nothing like that. It has nothing to do with things that were reported in the past.
“I’m not going to get into the intimate details of our discussion. I’m trying to put a positive spin on this. I have nothing but good things to say about the Chiefs, Clark Hunt, Scott Pioli and Todd Haley.’’
Waters is a member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee and was involved in the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. He said he was told his release had nothing to do with his union activities.
“I want to make that clear,’’ he said. “Absolutely not.’’
Waters, a tight end and defensive lineman in college at North Texas, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 1999 with Dallas. The Cowboys released him before the season and he caught on the next year with the Chiefs, who converted him to offensive line.
Waters eventually became one of the NFL’s premier players at his position and was a mainstay for the great Chiefs offensive lines of the early 2000s.
He said he would like to play at least one more season.
“There are some good teams out there that have a chance to win the Super Bowl,’’ Waters said. “It’s just a matter of what opportunities come along.’’
The Chiefs also released wide receiver Chris Chambers, a former starter, and defensive back Jackie Bates.
Chambers’ release wasn’t a surprise. He was the Chiefs best receiver in 2009 but his play fell off sharply last season. He was eventually benched and since the Chiefs drafted one wide receiver, Jonathan Baldwin, in the first round and agreed to terms with another, Steve Breaston, as a free agent.
They also have Dwayne Bowe, who played in the Pro Bowl last year.
The Chiefs signed seven of their nine draft picks, including Hudson. Baldwin and third-round linebacker Justin Houston still had not come to contract terms.
The seven draft picks who signed their contracts will be able to practice today. In addition to Hudson, they are third-round defensive lineman Allen Bailey, fourth-round defensive back Jalil Brown, fifth-round quarterback Ricky Stanzi, fifth-round linebacker Gabe Miller, sixth-round defensive lineman Jerrell Powe and seventh-round fullback Shane Bannon.
Also absent was unsigned franchise player Tamba Hali, the outside linebacker who led the AFC in sacks last season.
The Chiefs announced the remainder of their practice schedule at Missouri Western State University. The Chiefs are limited to one full practice daily under new NFL rules.
Some days they will also hold a light practice called a walkthrough where players will wear shorts and practice jerseys but no helmets or pads. Those practices will be conducted without contact.
Practices are free except for the Aug. 6 Family Fun Day and one other session with a date to be determined. The charge for Family Fun Day is $12 with free admission for children 3 and under. The charge for the other practice will be $7.
The fee for Family Fun Day was $10 last year but there was also a parking charge.
The daily parking fee is $5 except on days where fans are charged for practice admittance. Parking will be free on those days.
July 29 – practice 3:30 p.m.
July 30 -- practice 3:30 p.m.
July 31 -- practice 3:30 p.m.
August 1 -- walkthrough 10:50 a.m.; practice 3:30 p.m.
August 2 – no practice
August 3 -- walkthrough 9:45 a.m.; practice 7:15 p.m.
August 4 -- walkthrough 10:50 a.m.; practice 3:30 p.m.
August 5 -- walkthrough 10:50 a.m.; practice 3:30 p.m.
August 6 – Family Fun Day practice 1:30 p.m.
August 7 – no practice
August 8 -- walkthrough 10:50 a.m.; practice 3:30 p.m.
August 9 -- walkthrough 10:50 a.m.; practice 3:30 p.m.
August 10 -- walkthrough 10:50 a.m.; practice 7:15 p.m.
August 11 – no practice
August 12 – Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay at Arrowhead Stadium, 7 p.m.
August 13 – no practice
August 14 -- walkthrough 10:50 a.m.; practice 3:30 p.m.
August 15 -- walkthrough 10:55 a.m.; practice 3:30 p.m.
August 16 -- walkthrough 10:50 a.m.; practice 3:30 p.m.
August 17 – practice 2:30 p.m.
August 18 – no practice, Chiefs break camp