Chiefs fans understand move, but still sad to see 12-year veteran linebacker Tamba Hali go

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On and off the field, linebacker Tamba Hali was a favorite for a lot of Chiefs fans.

“I really came to respect him as a Chief and really as a part of Kansas City,” longtime fan Mickey McCloud said. “He became a part of the fabric of what we are, as a city. He was a hard worker and an honest guy. His work ethic, the way he went about his business in the community. It’s hard to find guys like that, especially with the modern day attitude of pro athletes with so many problems.”

The Chiefs cut ties with Hali, a 12-year veteran, to save more than $7 million toward the team’s salary cap for the upcoming season.

Chiefs fans said they understand the move as a business decision. But even so, they say Hali was special.

Outside linebacker Tamba Hali #91 of the Kansas City Chiefs is congratulated by fans after the Chiefs defeated the Carolina Panthers with a final score of 27-21 at Arrowhead Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Hali was nominated for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2014 after doing humanitarian work building a hospital in his home country of Liberia.

His 89.5 quarterback sacks put him second on the Chief’s all-time list.

Most fans FOX 4 talked to seemed to agree: Hali is special player and person, but the NFL is a business.

“They have to free up some salary cap space, go for youth movement and just go for a full rebuild at this point,” fan Tony Cabral said.

“It’s not a bad move in my opinion,” Chiefs fan Grant Janssen said.