Sidelined for much of training camp by a knee injury, and unable to adequately compete for a roster spot, the wide receiver formerly known as "FredEx" won't be delivering for the Kansas City Chiefs this season.
Team officials have apprised loquacious wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, signed as a free agent this spring after he was cut loose by the Philadelphia Eagles, that he has been released. The four-year veteran and former first-round draft choice did not appear in any of the Chiefs' preseason games.
Mitchell, 26, had returned to practice only this week after injuring his right knee early in camp. The Chiefs will suffer no salary cap consequences, since Mitchell signed only a one-year contract, for the minimum base salary of $540,000.
"They said it was a business decision," Mitchell told the Kansas City Star. "It wasn't about my athletic ability or anything else. They know I have a tear in my meniscus [cartilage]. There were no bridges burned. I'm going to get ready to play, and maybe I'll be back. I'm open to [all 32] teams right now, and there's no telling what I'll do."
The first order of business for Mitchell, though, will be to have his right knee surgically repaired next Tuesday by noted orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala. When he first injured his knee, the Chiefs recommended Mitchell have surgery, but he declined, feeling it would hurt his chances of making the roster. Instead, he opted to try to rehabilitate the knee through treatment.
Kansas City officials told him, Mitchell said, that they didn't feel the knee could hold up over the course of a 16-game season. Mitchell said the Chiefs told him they will consider signing him later in the season if he successfully rehabilitates the knee and the team has a need at wide receiver. Mitchell told the Star that his "dream" is to play for the Chiefs.
"Don't count me out," he said. "All I have is a meniscus tear. And it's more of a nuisance than anything."
The Eagles' first-round choice in the 2001 draft, Mitchell had only 90 receptions for 1,263 yards and five touchdowns in his four-year tenure with the team. But it was his mouth, more than his lack of production, that led to his departure. Mitchell was critical before Super Bowl XXXIX last year of New England coach Bill Belichick and Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, and coach Andy Reid released him this spring.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.