Chiefs release veteran linebacker Justin Houston

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (50) celebrates during the second half of an NFL divisional football playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(WIBW) - The Chiefs have released one of the best pass-rushers in franchise history.

Kansas City announced on Sunday that it has let go of linebacker Justin Houston. He ranks fourth all-time in Chiefs history with 78.5 sacks.

“Over the last eight seasons we’ve had the ability to watch Justin grow into a leader on and off the playing field,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “His passion helped him become one the most successful pass rushers in franchise history."

“Justin has made a lasting impact on this franchise and I can’t thank him enough for his contributions over the years,” Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said.

Houston holds the team's single-season sack record, tallying 22.0 in 2014. The four-time Pro Bowler played in 12 games last season, racking up 9.0 sacks, eight tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries.

“I’ve been fortunate to get to know Justin over the last six seasons, and not only is he a talented football player, but he’s a tremendous person,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “He really helped set the tone, and I appreciate the work he put in with us. I wish him the best as he continues his career.”

The release of the veteran, who will be entering his ninth season in 2019, frees up $14 million in salary cap space. Houston has also battled injuries and not played a full NFL season since 2014, which was also the last time he recorded a double-digit sack total.

“These decisions are never easy," Veach said. "I have a great deal of respect for Justin as a player and person and I wish him and his family the best moving forward.”