Matt Cassel spent most of his young career holding the clipboard -- either while he was at USC or when he was in New England, backing up Tom Brady. After Brady was injured in the 2008 opener, Cassel was thrust into the starting role, played well, and was then traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he's been the quarterback for the first time in his career.
Now, Cassel is learning what it's like to be the guy who doesn't perform. Cassel has had to deal with offseason rumors, that the Chiefs were trying to bring in Peyton Manning, and that the Chiefs are trying to trade up in the draft to select Ryan Tannehill.
Cassel, though, welcomes the competition.
"As a quarterback in the NFL, you have to have that mentality every day with not only the people in your room but with yourself,'' Cassel said. "The minute you start to become lackadaisical and the minute you start not studying as hard, it catches up to you. I've always had the mentality that I have to push myself to be the best I can be, and that's not going to change. I'm always going to look to get better in each and every way.''
Cassel also specifically addressed the Manning rumors, too:
"Scott Pioli and everybody were open about the fact they were going to reach out to Peyton,'' Cassel said. "To me, I don't take any disrespect from that. Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning, and he's one of the best quarterbacks to ever play this game. So how can you take disrespect from that? I appreciated the fact they communicated with me and didn't want me to find out from somebody else.
Hopefully for both Cassel and the Chiefs, this offseason will push him to be the quarterback he can be.
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