The Kansas City Chiefs lost one of their bigger personalities when free agent defensive tackle Khalen Saunders signed a three-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on March 15, according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero.
Not long after the news broke of Saunders joining the Saints, Saunders took to Twitter to post a heartfelt message to Chiefs Kingdom.
“The saying is ‘it’s a business,’ but not for me. For the last four years, I’ve built bonds and met friends that I claim as family,” Saunders wrote. “I’ve met mentors and role models, and people and people who will forever hold a place in my heart.
“To Mr. Hunt, Mr. Veach, Coach Reid, and Coach Spags, I’m truly grateful that you took a chance on an FCS and turned him into a two-time World Champ. To my former teammates, it’s been a pleasure. Some of the most phenomenal and stand-up men that I’ve ever met. And to the Kingdom, thank you for showing me what ‘football culture’ is supposed to look like in a city. The red and gold will always be two colors woven into my DNA.”
Saunders also posted a separate message to his Chiefs teammates and training staff.
“God, idk how i deserve all the blessings you give me. 95, 55, my Vets. My big brothers. The love & respect i have for yall is set in stone. Love y’all boys,” he wrote. “Ev, from the first elbow rehab to our second ring, I’ve enjoyed every single moment we’ve shared. Love you buddy.”
Khalen Saunders Coming Off of a Career Year
Khalen Saunders, 26, went to high school at Parkway Central in Missouri and played his college ball at Western Illinois. He entered the NFL as a third-round pick by the Chiefs in 2019.
Over the last four seasons, Saunders accumulated 25 total pressures (16 QB hurries, 5 sacks, 4 QB hits) and 39 stops in 38 regular season games played, according to PFF. He is coming off of a career year, however, as he registered 15 total pressures (7 QB hurries, 4 sacks, 4 QB hits) and 20 stops in 16 games during the 2022 regular season.
During Kansas City’s recent Super Bowl run, Saunders recorded 3 total pressures (2 QB hits, 1 sack) and 2 stops in three games played.
According to Tom Pelissero, Saunders’ deal with the Saints is for three years and $14.5 million, which marks his first big payday in the NFL.
Twitter Reacts to Khalen Saunders Signing With Saints
Twitter users reacted to Khalen Saunders signing with the Saints.
“Damn…..@khalenNOTkaylen Congratulations brotha,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones wrote. “Im gonna miss the good vibez! One of one most definitely! Well deserved.”
“Congrats big dawg! @khalenNOTkaylen,” Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes wrote. “Going to miss locker room basketball tho!”
“Ever since I saw you backflipping for the Senior Bowl I was excited to have you as a Chief,” another Twitter user wrote. “You have done nothing but given 110% every down and all of Chiefs Kingdom saw it. Congratulations and much love! Good luck!”
“Man, losing so many two time guys is tough. Gonna miss your energy on the team Champ. Gone but not forgotten. Thank you for the memories Khalen,” another user wrote.