Willis replaced Tony Ugoh, who unexpectedly retired Monday after signing with the Chiefs on July 26. Willis, like Ugoh, has five years of NFL experience. The difference is that Willis has not played in a regular-season game since 2009.
Willis was cut by the Jets on June 28 and also had brief stints with the Dolphins and Saints last season, never appearing in a game. Willis, a fourth-round pick in 2005, appeared in 44 games with the Seahawks from 2005-2009, with 26 starts. He started 16 games in Seattle in 2009, then injured his knee in 2010 and missed the season. He was unable to work his way back onto the field last year.
"Hey, it is what it is, man," Cassel told Babb. "You play this position, you’re going to take your lumps, and it's not something that bugs me. It's not something that I let get to me. You've got to be strong when you play this position."
Cassel, who the Chiefs traded for in 2009, has never been embraced by the Kansas City fans, and he fell out of favor last season when the team struggled early and he injured his hand, giving way to the failed Tyler Palko experiment.
"You can't let it get to you," Cassel said. "The minute you let it start getting to you, it takes away from what you're doing on the field and your production."
Cassel has an opportunity to get Chiefs' fans in his corner this year. He has the best supporting cast around him that he's had in Kansas City with the additions of RT Winston and RB Peyton Hillis. It should also help that RB Jamaal Charles is healthy and second-year WR Jon Baldwin has looked good in camp, giving Cassel another big target in addition to Dwayne Bowe, who figures to eventually end his holdout and join the team.
"I would love nothing more than to go out there, win for our fans, win for Arrowhead and get that thing rocking and rolling, going in the right direction and hear nothing but cheers every single time I go out," Cassel said.
Fullback Gentry waived: Kansas City waived FB Taylor Gentry on Tuesday. Gentry, an undrafted rookie, was unable to pass his camp physical because of an undisclosed injury.