March 12, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Two years ago, the Chiefs were so desperate to keep Dwayne Bowe on the roster that they gave him a five-year deal that made him one of the league's highest-paid wide receivers.

Turns out that he was going to be paid a bit too well.

The Chiefs released their former first-round pick on Thursday, unwilling to take the $14 million hit against the salary cap that Bowe carried this season.

''This was a tough decision to make,'' said John Dorsey, whose signing of Bowe to a $56 million deal was one of his first major moves as general manager. ''Dwayne is a team-first guy and he holds a number of team receiving records. We felt this was in the best interest of the club.''

The move came one day after the Chiefs wrapped up a $55 million, five-year deal with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who was drafted by Chiefs coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia.

With his sometimes flighty personality, Bowe became a fan favorite in Kansas City. The seats in Arrowhead Stadium were often filled with people wearing his No. 82 jersey, and fans would line up for hours along the barricades at training camp to get his autograph.

Bowe never seemed to be a good fit in Reid's offense, though, and his production has been trending downward the past couple of year. He still had 60 catches for 754 yards last season, but he was part of a wide receiver corps that failed to catch a touchdown pass.

''It's been a pleasure working with Dwayne the past two seasons,'' Reid said. ''He showed up every day with a great attitude and did everything we asked of him. He was a productive player for a number of years here and I have a lot of respect for what he was able to accomplish.''

The 30-year-old was a first-round draft pick out of LSU, and went on to start 112 of his 118 games in Kansas City. He had 532 catches for 7,155 yards, third-most in franchise history, and his 2010 season - 72 catches, 1,162 yards and 15 TDs - earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl.

Yet for all his success on the field, there were constant stumbles away from it.

He made questionable comments to a magazine a few years ago about womanizing that allegedly occurred at team hotels. He then offered an apology that went awry when he referred to the Hunt family that owns the Chiefs as ''the Clarks'' - a reference to Clark Hunt, its chief executive.

In November 2013, he was arrested in a suburb of Kansas City on charges of speeding and possession of marijuana, shortly before a pivotal AFC West showdown against Denver. He later pleaded guilty to amended charges of defective equipment and littering, and his attorney said there was no admission of guilt for the marijuana charge, which was dismissed.

In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Bowe thanked Hunt, Dorsey, Reid and the rest of the Chiefs for giving him a chance to play in the NFL.

''You believed in me,'' the statement said. ''There are so many people with the Chiefs and many that are no longer there that have had an impact on my life.''

Bowe will almost certainly be snatched up quickly as a free agent. The Chiefs, meanwhile, intend to move on with the 26-year-old Maclin as their No. 1 wide receiver next season.

''He's an explosive player. He had 10 touchdowns last year, which is a beautiful thing,'' Reid said. ''Last year was a little freaky thing in this offense to not have any touchdowns by a wide receiver, but it's what happened. I don't think it'll happen again. I think we'll be OK there.''

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