Kansas City Chiefs releasing veteran linebacker Justin Houston

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Justin Houston (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs are parting ways with linebacker Justin Houston.

The outside linebacker carried a salary cap hit of $21.1 million, a number the Chiefs were looking to avoid for the upcoming season. The team was rumored to be searching for a trade for Houston, but it appears the numbers didn’t add up.

The team is releasing the 30-year-old veteran pass rusher after eight seasons, the club announced Sunday.

Chiefs Coach Andy Reid said he has been fortunate to get to know Houston over the last six seasons.

Not only is he a talented football player, but he’s a tremendous person,” Reid said. “He really helped set the tone, and I appreciate the work he put in with us. I wish him the best as he continues his career.”

“Justin has made a lasting impact on this franchise and I can’t thank him enough for his contributions over the years,” Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said in a statement. “These decisions are never easy. I have a great deal of respect for Justin as a player and person and I wish him and his family the best moving forward.”

Houston was drafted by the Chiefs in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft after playing college football at Georgia. In 2015, after getting 22 sacks in the 2014 season, he signed a six-year, $101 million deal with the Chiefs.

But Houston has struggled to ever record that many sacks since then. He had nine sacks in 12 games last season. Overall, in his eight seasons with the Chiefs, he racked up 78.5 sacks over 102 games.

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