ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- This was not the dying moment of an ugly loss. This was a feel-good charity softball game in the middle of the summer, for heaven's sake, when everybody was feeling happy and upbeat.
A few weeks earlier, in another sign of the little regard so many in Kansas City seem to have for their quarterback, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt had publicly announced, seemingly with glee, that the team hoped to sign free agent Peyton Manning.
It's been the offseason of disrespect for Cassel, the summer of indignity. It must have hurt. It had to hurt.
If it did, the perpetually sunny California native does a fine job of hiding all the pain.
"I'm going to be the same guy each and every day," he said with an engaging grin as the Chiefs opened camp. "I'm going to give you 110 percent of what I have, and some people like it, some people won't. You know what? I'm going to give it my all."
Critics of the 6-foot-4 Cassel say he can't throw downfield and sometimes panics, slow to process information when a play breaks down.
But leading the league in offensive coordinators probably hasn't helped him grow. Officially in four years, he's had five coordinators. But that doesn't count the heavy hand of Haley, who was constantly tinkering with plays and game-day strategy, sometimes overruling whatever play was called.
But Haley's gone now, fired with four games to go. Romeo Crennel, a defensive specialist, is seizing his second opportunity to be a head coach and is less likely to meddle with the offense.
"I don't know why everybody beats up on the guy, other than the fact we haven't won the way everybody wants us to win," Crennel said. "But he did take us to a playoff game. I've said before that we have to develop Matt's consistency. I think we are going to have an opportunity to do that this year."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press