John Welbourn Says Goodbye To Kansas City

Looks like the Kansas City Chiefs will be entering the 2006 campaign without the services of offensive lineman John Welbourn. The team's starting right tackle last season, Welbourn informed the Chiefs on Thursday evening that he's going to retire.

According to the Associated Press, Welbourn informed the Chiefs two weeks ago that this was a direction he was contemplating. At that time, he had hoped those conversations would lead to a new contract offer but that never happened.

With no hope for an agreement on a new deal, Welbourn called it quits.

"I decided to retire on my own terms rather than somebody else's," Welbourn told The Associated Press. "It was awesome playing in the NFL. I got to play with a lot of great athletes, Will Shields, Willie Roaf, to name a few. I've been playing football for 16 years and it's a little scary to think I won't be playing any more. But at the same time, it's exciting to think I'll be starting a whole new chapter in my life."

Just this week the Chiefs signed former St. Louis Rams tackle Kyle Turley to add depth along the offensive line, now it looks like Turley will be the Chiefs' primary hope to step in and help the line compete at the high level it's enjoyed the last four seasons. Welbourn and Turley are no strangers to each other; they embarked on a motorcycle tour of Florida following the 2003 season.

Welbourn joined the Chiefs via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cal-Berkeley alum was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 1999 draft, and played five seasons at left guard for the Eagles before joining the Chiefs in 2004.

It was well known that Welbourn was interested in pursuing a career in law after his playing days were over. No one in the Chiefs organization or the fans envisioned that he would get the opportunity so soon. Welbourn has been playing excellent football the past few seasons, and to say that the move to retirement was a surprise is a huge understatement.

"It's weird thinking I won't be playing football anymore," he said. "Most guys play until they can't play anymore. But I feel good physically and I've been playing well. I'm leaving on a high note."

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