Kennison the guy to go to


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Jan 22, 2006
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Kennison the guy to go to
Veteran Chiefs wide receiver will be counted on again to make the necessary catch.
The Kansas City Star
As is the custom for the most senior of Chiefs wide receivers, Eddie Kennison took his place in practice Monday at the front of the line for position drills.

Kennison might as well have been in a line of his own. At 33, he’s not just the most senior of the Chiefs wide receivers, but the only senior.

Two of those who followed Kennison in the drills, Samie Parker and Dante Hall, are still trying to establish themselves as receivers. The two others, Jeff Webb and Chris Hannon, are wide-eyed rookies.

When it comes to receiving accomplishments, none is in Kennison’s category. Just one of five NFL receivers to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in his ninth and 10th NFL seasons, Kennison has more in common with 58-year-old position coach Charlie Joiner, a Hall of Fame receiver, than any of his receiving teammates.

As if to prove the point, Kennison pulled Webb over at the end of one drill to share some wisdom about running a particular route.

Other than Kennison, the Chiefs are doing a lot of wishful thinking at wide receiver. Parker had a strong training camp but still needs to show better consistency. Hall has given the Chiefs little as a receiver. Anything the Chiefs get from Webb, a sixth-round draft pick, and the undrafted Hannon is a bonus.

If Kennison doesn’t have a big season, the Chiefs passing game could come crashing down alongside. That’s a lot to ask of a 33-year-old receiver, even one who went over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons.

“I want them to ask more of me. I have no problem with that,” Kennison said. “I think I’m at a point in my life and in my career where I can handle that. I think I’ve got a good supporting cast in Herm (Edwards) and Charlie Joiner and the veteran receivers that are here, Dante and Samie.”

The preseason results were good. Against the Rams in the one preseason game in which he received extended playing time, Kennison had five catches and each gave the Chiefs a first down.

There will be a premium on first downs and ball control under Edwards, who often wondered from afar why Kennison didn’t get more publicity for his feats.

“Unless you’re one of those star receivers, then (people think) you’re just a guy,” Edwards said. “You’re a guy that doesn’t have a dance in the end zone, you don’t catch 10 touchdowns a year.

“The system has allowed him to be very, very productive and sometimes that goes unnoticed. There are some players here that are good football players and maybe in some people’s eyes are not top guys.”

Edwards isn’t the only one unfamiliar with Kennison to gain a new appreciation for him. Chiefs cornerback Lenny Walls while with the Broncos played against Kennison.

“Just from competing against him, you know how good he is and how fast he is,” Walls said. “But now I can see why he does what he does. A lot of receivers have talent and don’t get 1,000 yards. He works hard and spends a lot of time on his route running. That’s why he makes things happen.”

Kennison received some attention, most of it negatively received, when on the eve of training camp he went public with his request for a new contract. He indicated he might leave camp at some point if he didn’t get one.

Kennison still doesn’t have the new contract but is still with the Chiefs and said he has no plans to leave.

He has, by all appearances, been a part of the program. He has spent much time tutoring the younger receivers.

“I didn’t have anybody when I was coming up who would show me the things that needed to be done and show me the right way to do things,” Kennison said. “Everybody has their definition of leadership. My definition of leadership is to pass on what you know to someone else so they will have a chance to succeed. Those young guys are the future of the Chiefs. If I don’t teach them at least a couple of things I know — I’ll teach them the rest when I leave the game — then I’m being selfish by keeping those things to myself.

“That’s just years in the league, experience, understanding what you need to know, putting things into perspective the way they need to be put into perspective, not doing the foolish things that I used to do. It’s not just football. It’s life in general. It’s a clear picture.”
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