When the Kansas City Chiefs announced last Friday the release of veteran receiver Jeremy Maclin, who signed with the team as a free agent two years ago, the layers involved ran deep.
Maclin had a relationship that went beyond football with a lot of the people on staff, many of whom were with him when he first entered the league as a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009.
The relationship between Maclin and Chiefs coach Andy Reid extended beyond the white lines as well.
On Tuesday, Reid spoke with reporters about Maclin's release following the team's seventh OTA practice of the year.
"This gives him time to hook on with another team, which he will do," Reid said. "Jeremy can still play. This is part of the NFL business. I am not going to get into specifics with it, but this is the worst part about the job, clearly. It is not easy for (general manager) John [Dorsey]. It is not easy for me, or the coaches. But, it is the decision we ended up making and we go forward."
With Maclin's release, the focus turns to a young Chiefs receiver's core, which doesn't have a player over the age of 24 right now.
Most of the attention will be on Albert Wilson (24), De'Anthony Thomas (24), Chris Conley (24), Tyreek Hill (23) and Demarcus Robinson (22), who hasn't seen the same amount of time on the field as the other four, but is a player Reid said has been impressive so far this offseason.
After catching 17 passes for 199 yards as a rookie in 2015, Conley more than doubled those numbers last year—stepping in as Maclin missed some time with a groin injury—and caught 44 passes for 530 yards.
Hill, who was named an All-Pro as a returner last year as a rookie, caught 61 passes for 593 yards and six touchdowns.
"I have a ton of trust in the young guys that they will step up and do a good job for us," Reid explained. "The point that we have here is we have some good players. I believe everyone has to be ready to go. I've never said we have a number one guy, that's just never where I have been with this thing. We try to mix it and mix it up the best way we possibly can.
"A few years ago you saw [Maclin] catch a lot of passes, last year you saw [Travis Kelce] with a lot of catches, and Tyreek [Hill] had a few. So, you try to spread it around and put enough pressure on defense as you possibly can.
"We have enough talent right here to do whatever we need to do."
When it comes to the leadership Maclin displayed, which was evidenced by the amount of time he spent in the offseason training in Kansas City and mentoring Conley and Wilson, the time is now for those guys to take the next steps in their careers and be a voice to help the other young guys in that room, as Maclin did for them.
"Albert and Chris, they have spent a lot of time with Jeremy," Reid added. "And yeah, they will step that up. We have (wide receivers coach) Greg [Lewis] here, too. Greg has been there, done that. He understands how that goes.
"I don't think you replace [Maclin's leadership]. That is not what you do. But you have other guys in there that are great leaders. They understand the game and they will pick up any slack there.
"I've got confidence in that group."