KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel will get a reprieve.
Cassel, benched as the starter for last Sunday’s game against Oakland, will return to the starting lineup on Thursday night at San Diego because his replacement, Brady Quinn, will be unable to play because of a concussion.
Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel on Tuesday morning ruled Quinn and running back Nate Eachus out for the game because of concussions. Crennel also said starting cornerback Stanford Routt will be limited in practice today because of a hamstring injury.
Quinn was injured in the first quarter of last Sunday’s 26-16 loss to Oakland and replaced by Cassel. Quinn was evaluated by doctors on Monday and was not cleared to play. Crennel said after Quinn undergoes more tests, a decision on his long-term future will be determined.
Cassel suffered a concussion in the Chiefs’ loss to Baltimore on Oct. 7 and was not cleared to play for the following week’s game at Tampa Bay. When the Chiefs returned from their bye week, Cassel was cleared to play, but Crennel, looking to spark at team that was 1-5, decided to replace Cassel as the Chiefs’ starter for the remainder of the season.
Crennel is hopeful Cassel, the Chiefs starter since joining the club in 2009, can take advantage of his second chance.
“Sometimes a second chance energizes a guy,” Crennel said. “Matt is a team guy. He wants the team to do well. In whatever role he was in … he didn’t like it, but he said, ‘I’m going to do my job, I’m a Chief, and I’m going to be ready to play if I’m called on,’ and that’s the way he prepared during the week.
“That’s the way he’s prepared this week. He knows he’s going to have to play, and he’s going to do the best he can. We have to help him as well …”
Quinn made his first start for the Chiefs in the 38-10 loss at Tampa Bay, completing 22 of 38 passes for 180 yards and two interceptions. He completed two passes for four yards with an interception against Oakland.
Cassel entered the Oakland game in the second quarter and completed 20 of 30 passes for 218 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
“To think that he didn’t get any practice reps, but he prepared mentally as if he were going to play allowed him to come into the game and be able to move us a little bit and spark us,” Crennel said. “But still, some of the same things that have been biting us all year long continue. We have to eliminate those things.”
For the season, Cassel has completed 59 percent of his passes with six touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 69.0 passer rating. Only Dallas’ Tony Romo, with 13, has thrown more interceptions than Cassel. Only Arizona’s John Skelton, at 69.0, has a worse passer rating.
Cassel threw three interceptions in the Chiefs’ 37-20 loss to the Chargers in week four at Arrowhead Stadium.
Cassel will be backed up Thursday by second-year quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who will be active for the second time this season.