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Daniels happy to have fresh chance with Chiefs

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 8:48 p.m.

— Quarterback had other options when he became a free agent, but he wanted to join the Chiefs.

Quarterback Chase Daniel looks at joining the Chiefs as a homecoming of sorts, and there’s plenty of reasons for that. Daniel not only played in college at Missouri, but his first game for the Tigers in 2005 came against Arkansas State at Arrowhead Stadium.

“It’s great to be back in this part of the country,” said Daniel, who last week signed a contract as a free agent to be the backup for Alex Smith, also newly acquired. “I was 120 miles down the road playing my college ball at the University of Missouri. There are a lot of the same fans, a lot of the same fan base. I’m excited to be back here. I definitely am.

“I played college football here. I’m really familiar with the Kansas City area. I’m familiar with the fan base. I’m familiar with the barbecue. I weighed every single option. I weighed the option of going back to New Orleans. At the end of the day, this was the best fit for me and for my career.”

Daniel signed with Washington as an undrafted free agent after leaving Missouri in 2009. He didn’t make it with Washington but signed on with New Orleans, where he spent the past four seasons as the backup for Drew Brees.

The return to Missouri was a nice feature but ultimately not what brought him back. Football had far more to do with it.

“As soon as I knew Andy Reid signed here, (the Chiefs) were on my radar,” Daniel said. “I knew what type of offense they ran. It was very similar in a lot of ways to the New Orleans type of offense. They like to throw the ball. They like to run. They’re a fast-tempo offense. They have weapons.

“I did the best thing for my career. I wanted to be a part of a winning program and wanted to get a chance to compete. I understand my role on this team right now is to back up Alex Smith. I understand he’s the starter. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to compete every single day to push him. He’d be the first one to tell you that’s what makes a good quarterback (group).”

The Chiefs were also more interested in football than where Daniel played it in college. They traded for Smith but needed a backup, having decided Matt Cassel wasn’t suitable.

The Chiefs released Cassel last week. So they made a strong effort for Daniel, who threw only nine regular-season passes in his four seasons with the Saints.

They gave Daniel a three-year contract worth $10 million.

“You go off his production in the preseason,” Reid said. “You see he’s one of the most productive quarterbacks in the preseason since he’s gotten into the league. I liked him when he was in college. I like the system he comes from. There are going to be some similarities there once he digs in. (New Orleans coach) Sean Payton and I are friends so I know what Sean thinks of him.

“Any time you bring in a second quarterback, you have to look at him like he’s the starter. He’s one play away from being that guy that has to go and win a football game for you. As you analyze those guys, you’d better understand that.”

The Chiefs had some competition for Daniel. At least a half-dozen teams called his agent about Daniel after the free-agent signing period started.

“I wasn’t necessarily surprised,” Daniel said. “I was hoping that’s the way it would be.”

He joined the Chiefs despite their trade for Smith.

“When you heard the type of investment they wanted to make in me, that really said a lot about what they think and what they feel about me,” Daniel said. “They know how well I prepare week in and week out during the season, I prepare like a starter every single day. You’re one play away, and you have to have a guy you can trust as the number-two quarterback.”

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