"I think there were measures -- I could've did more about being on the team this year, but I'm happy for those guys."
Hali is a legend in K.C. ... having played the last 12 seasons there and racking up 89.5 sacks -- but he retired after last season having never gotten further than the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
That's why we at TMZ Sports wondered if there was at least SOME regret that he decided to call it a career just before Patrick Mahomes got the Chiefs on an epic run this season.
But, 35-year-old Tamba says while it is "bittersweet," he's at peace with the decision.
"I think the way coach [Andy] Reid treated me was great. He kind of saved me, because I played the game wreckless. I probably would've been on the other side -- would've wrecked my body."
"So, I'm happy, yet it is bittersweet."
As for the Chiefs' AFC Championship Game against the Pats this weekend ... Hali says he's giving the edge to Mahomes over Tom Brady in the big matchup, and ya gotta hear why.