Team Report: Inside Slant


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Jan 22, 2006
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Team Report: Inside Slant


--Solidify the right cornerback position vacated by the free agent departure of Eric Warfield: The Chiefs remain in the bidding for Ty Law, the five-time Pro Bowl corner who came back from a major foot injury to record a league-high 10 interceptions last year for the New York Jets and coach Herm Edwards, the man who would now like to establish Law (and some order) in the Chiefs defense.
But right now Law's asking price is more than the Chiefs are willing to pay, as seems to be the case with other teams in the market. Their hope is that as training camps get closer to opening and Law needs a job, he'll be anxious to join a team, as he did with the Jets in the early days of camp last year. Law cost the Jets more than $6 million last year, and right now that may be too rich for the Chiefs.

If Law doesn't enter the picture, the leading replacement candidate is Lenny Walls, a starter for Denver in 2003 who has been hampered by injuries over the past two years. Walls' unavailability cost him his spot in Denver, but he rejoins David Gibbs, the secondary coach who gave him his shot with the Broncos, in Kansas City.

--Firm up the backup running back spot: Long-time mainstay Priest Holmes may have taken his last snap in the NFL. After five mostly glorious seasons in Kansas City, Holmes has been advised that the head and neck injuries he sustained in San Diego in Game Seven last year could be aggravated and cause problems later in his life if he takes many more hits. That would happen even if he plays only as a limited-use backup to new starter Larry Johnson.

Holmes hasn't ruled out playing in a limited role, but his uncertainty means the Chiefs must prepare to go on without him. Dee Brown, who started three of the 14 games he played for Carolina in 2002 but has seen only marginal playing time since, emerged from spring drills as Johnson's backup. The Chiefs have talked with New Orleans about Michael Bennett, but that option is on the back burner while the Saints see how well Deuce McAllister comes back from injury and how fast Reggie Bush develops.

--Pick a right tackle: The Chiefs still haven't removed John Welbourn, their right tackle over most of the past two seasons, from their roster despite his announced intentions to retire. He remains an attractive option should he change his mind.

If he doesn't, the Chiefs have replacement candidates in Jordan Black, Kevin Sampson, newly added Kyle Turley and youngster Will Svitek, who had a strong spring in Europe. Black may be the best candidate, but he had to fill in so much last year for aging left tackle Willie Roaf that the Chiefs likely will want him specializing at that position rather than trying to play two spots. Sampson was the leading contender last year until a bye-week illness basically ended his season. Turley is a proven player, but his return to football after two years of back-related absences is hampered by the fact that he had to lose weight to deal with his back issues and now may be too light (270 pounds upon joining the Chiefs in June) to play the position as effectively as he did in New Orleans.

CAMP CALENDAR: The Chiefs will report on Thursday, July 27 for a 16th year to their summer home in River Falls, Wis., a bedroom community of the Twins Cities. A shells workout is scheduled for July 28 with the first of two-a-day set for July 29. A two-hour night workout with the Vikings in Mankato, Minn., a two-hour drive, is set for Friday, Aug. 4. The annual Family Fun Night, the highlight of camp for locals, is the Aug. 5 in River Falls. Kansas City will break camp on Friday, Aug. 15, prior to its first home preseason game against St. Louis.
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