KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The chances that the Kansas City Chiefs allow linebacker Justin Houston to leave as a free agent are slim. The Chiefs know how important Houston is and, at age 26, that he should have many good seasons left in him.
Still, it's worth noting that according to ESPN Stats and Information, the Chiefs were involved one of the two times a reigning NFL sack leader opened a season with a different team. In 2008, the Chiefs traded defensive end Jared Allen, who led the NFL in sacks in 2007, to the Minnesota Vikings for a package of draft picks. The Chiefs with one of those picks, a third-rounder, drafted a running back from Texas, Jamaal Charles. So the trade worked out for the Chiefs.
Other than the fact Allen in 2007 and Houston in 2014 led the NFL in sacks while playing for the Chiefs, there are no viable parallels between their situations. Allen was angry with the Chiefs over what he perceived as a lack of respect from general manager Carl Peterson and publicly threatened a long holdout unless he was traded.
Houston was absent from last year's offseason conditioning program and practice sessions as a sign of unhappiness over the direction his contract negotiations were headed, which was nowhere. He might hold out again this spring if he and the Chiefs haven't agreed to terms of a long-term contract or he hasn't signed his one-year offer as the franchise player.
But Houston has said publicly that he likes playing for the Chiefs and for coach Andy Reid, so the acrimony in his case is nowhere close to what it was for Allen.
That means history won't repeat. Houston and the Chiefs might not agree on a new long-term contract and he might not be happy as the franchise player and opt not to sign the tender.
If he plays at all in 2015, it won't be for another team. It will be for the Chiefs.