The first time it happened, Cassel went from anonymous backup in New England to starting quarterback in Kansas City with a $60 million contract. This time, it means he is headed to his first Pro Bowl.
"There are so many crazy things, when you look back, about Tom having an injury and me getting my chance," Cassel said Thursday. "It's really weird."
"We had a great conversation," said Cassel, who threw a career-high 27 touchdown passes this season and led the Chiefs to their first AFC West title since 2003. "I would have loved to see him go and play because he had an outstanding year. He is a good friend. He's always been super-supportive. He wished me luck. He said go out there and have some fun."
With Brady out for the season, Cassel finally had the chance to prove his mettle and made the most of it, taking the Patriots to 11 wins.
Scott Pioli left New England after that year to become general manager in Kansas City. He was impressed enough to trade for Cassel and hand him the starter's job and a contract with a $36 million guarantee.
"It's a huge honor," Cassel said. "Being in the league for the last six years, you see the Pro Bowlers going and you go, 'Gosh, hopefully one day I can get there.' I'm really excited."
"There are so many crazy things going when you look back, about Tom having the injury and me getting my chance, but that chance was against the Kansas City Chiefs and then myself getting traded to the Kansas City Chiefs," Cassel said. "Now to put me in the Pro Bowl. Again, Tom unfortunately has an injury and he's not able to go. But it also puts me in the Pro Bowl.
"There are so many ironic, crazy things that go on in my career that consist of those (two) little teams or that person."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press