[Kansas City.com] A sign on Lional Dalton’s locker read, “All generations experience change.” Dalton knew he was in trouble. Two Saturdays ago, he walked into Arrowhead Stadium and was told he wasn’t suiting up for the 49ers game. He didn’t have to come if he didn’t want, they said. Dalton passed out cups of water in street clothes and wondered.
“This happened to me in Denver,” Dalton said last week. “Ray Rhodes quit, and me and a few other guys were (gone). Certain coaches, when they come in, they’ve got a certain player they like or a body type or a personality. And if you don’t fit into that mold, you don’t get to play.”
Dalton was cut on Tuesday, Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson said, to make room for cornerback Michael Bragg.
Bragg is 24, fits into coach Herm Edwards’ plans to get younger, and gives the Chiefs some much-needed depth after Benny Sapp went down with a knee injury. But Dalton’s demise probably didn’t have anything to do with age or injuries.
In the NFL, one coach’s beast can be another man’s burden. The Chiefs’ 53-man roster has 17 new faces, which means change has come to roughly one-third of the team. Dalton was the latest high-profile player who didn’t fit into the Edwards mold. Other castoffs include former second-round draft pick Junior Siavii, defensive end Carlos Hall, and receiver Craphonso Thorpe.
Dalton signed a four-year contract in March, and was a guy on former coach Dick Vermeil’s radar long before he signed with the Chiefs in 2004 and started 27 games. For two years, Dalton was one of the defense’s most consistent interior linemen. In the team media guide, the top of his bio says he “shows no signs of relinquishing his starting right defensive tackle position in 2006.”
But just a week after Dalton got his new contract, Kansas City added Ron Edwards. Then came James Reed, who played under Edwards in New York and earned the nickname “Tank.”
By the start of the season, Reed and Ron Edwards were starting, and Dalton was getting water. Dalton said he wanted to be a “Herm guy” but acknowledged recently that the end was probably near. Undrafted rookie Stephen Williams took his spot in the lineup, and Dalton was inactive the last two games.