Belichick comments on Vrabel, Cassel

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The New England Patriots have released a statement to confirm they have traded quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for the 34th overall selection in this year's draft.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick issued the following comment about Vrabel, a fan favorite who won three Super Bowls and made his only Pro Bowl while wearing a Patriots helmet:

"When Mike arrived in 2001, we knew we were adding a solid outside linebacker. But where Mike took it from there exceeded our highest hopes. Mike Vrabel epitomizes everything a coach could seek in a professional football player: toughness, intelligence, playmaking, leadership, versatility and consistency at the highest level.

"Behind the scenes, Mike's wit and personality is one of the things we have all enjoyed about coming to work every day. The toughest aspect of my job is the day I stop coaching people like Mike, who did everything in his power to contribute to team success. Of all the players I have coached in my career, there is nobody I enjoyed working with more than Mike. In the same way people recognize guys like Troy Brown, we appreciate and thank Mike Vrabel. He is one of the very special Patriots champions."

Belichick gave a shorter comment about Cassel, who spent four seasons with the Patriots but started only last year:

"It is very easy to root for guys like Matt Cassel, who do everything the right way and flourish as a result. As much as we would have loved to continue working with Matt, we wish him nothing but the best as he takes this next step forward in his career."