Chiefs QB Matt Cassel laid on his back hurt Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, and the fans cheered. They wanted Brady Quinn, and they didn't care how they got him.
RT Eric Winston noticed, and he delivered an emotional onslaught to his team's fans in the locker room following the Chiefs' 9-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
"We are athletes," Winston said. "We are not gladiators. This isn't the Roman Coliseum. People pay their hard-earned money to come in here, and I believe they can boo. They can cheer. They can do whatever they want. We're lucky to play this game. A game. It's hard economic times, and they still pay the money to do this, but when somebody gets hurt there are long-lasting ramifications to the game we play -- long-lasting ramifications.
"I've already come to the understanding that I won't live as long because I play this game, and that's OK. That's a choice I've made. That's a choice all of us have made. But when you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don't care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel, it's sickening. It's 100 percent sickening, and I've been in some rough times on some rough teams, and I've never been more embarrassed in my life to play football than in that moment right there."
Frustrations in Kansas City have grown throughout the season during the Chiefs' 1-4 start, and much of the blame has been placed on Cassel, who came into the game with a league-high 10 turnovers. Romeo Crennel's game plan on Sunday was to take the pressure off Cassel, and Cassel threw only seven passes in the first half -- but the turnovers still came. He had two interceptions and two fumbles, the second coming on a botched snap at the goal line that would have given Kansas City its first lead of the season. The fans chanted for Quinn, and when they got him, they cheered.
"I get emotional about it because these guys work their butts off," Winston said. "Matt Cassel hasn't done anything to you people, hasn't done anything to the media writers that kill him, hasn't done anything wrong to the people that come out here and cheer him. If he's not the best quarterback, he's not the best quarterback and that's OK. But he's a person, and he got knocked out in a game, and we've got 70,000 cheering that he got knocked out.
"Boo him all you want, boo me all you want. Throw me under the bus, tell me I'm doing a bad job. Say I got to protect him more, but if you're one of those people that were out there cheering or even smiled when he got knocked out, I just want to let you know and I want everybody to know that I think it's sickening and disgusting."