May 24, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe (92) and offensive lineman Rodney Hudson (61) scrimmage during organized team activities at the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Chiefs Offseason: Romeo Crennel Praises Dontari Poe's Work Ethic, Willingness To Learn

Here's the latest from the Chiefs offseason workouts.

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Dontari Poe's Contract With Kansas City Chiefs Should Come Soon

There’s really no reason to wait at this point. The parameters for Dontari Poe’s contract have already been set due to the bookends of the contracts around him given to players taken at No. 10 and 12 in the 2012 NFL Draft. Now that Poe, taken at No. 11 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, is nearing training camp, the Chiefs are likely to work quickly to sign their new defensive tackle to his official rookie deal.

The hold-up to this point is unknown since the Chiefs worked quickly to get the rest of their draft class under contract shortly after the draft. Donald Stephenson, the team’s third round selection, was the last to sign on May 17. Since then, it’s been radio silence from the Chiefs regarding contracts for a player who practiced hard through OTAs despite the lack of official contract.

However there’s really no guesswork when it comes to Poe’s eventual deal. Last year, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans was the No. 11 overal pick and he signed a four year deal worth $11.23 million with a $6.67 million signing bonus. The Chiefs will increase this amount for Poe but it should not be too much higher than this figure.

For the 2012 bookends alluded to earlier, the Buffalo Bills picked Stephon Gilmore at No. 10 and Fletcher Cox was chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 12. Gilmore signed for 4 years at $12.1 million while Cox signed a four-year deal worth $10.24 million. Expect Poe to split that difference.

The hang-up could be a fifth year option that some teams are able to successfully negotiate. Gilmore, for example, has an option year with an amount that Albert Breer says will match the 2015 transition tag total for cornerbacks. Cox had no record of having that fifth year so perhaps that is the final hurdle for Poe and the Chiefs to clear.

If Poe turns out to be the franchise cornerstone in the middle, the extra year will make a significant difference down the road. While fans would love to see Poe get signed and the draft class officially signed and sealed, these are the days where contract particulars can make all of the difference down the road. In the end, Poe will sign by the time he needs to and the Chiefs will have their man in-house. There should be no doubt about that.

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Kansas City Chiefs Offseason: Dwayne Bowe's Franchise Tag Called 'Sleeper Situation For A Nightmare'

Many NFL teams are dealing with major decisions about what to do with key veterans at this stage of the offseason. Whether a general manager is dealing with disgruntled players like Matt Forte or Maurice Jones-Drew or it’s a player at a crossroads of a big money option like Dwayne Bowe of the Chiefs, front offices are abuzz with the options they have.

CBS Sports Will Brinson broke down the potential holdout situations around the NFL recently and said that the Chiefs’ decision with Bowe looms as a sleeper situation to watch. The decision for the Chiefs is whether to offer him a long-term deal at big receiver money or let him play out the year under the franchise tag and watch him potentially walk in 2013.

"This is my sleeper for a potentially ugly holdout," said Brinson. "No one’s talking about Bowe wanting the money, but don’t you think he saw what guys like Pierre Garcon and Laurent Robinson got paid this offseason? And don’t you think he’s not happy about the possibility of a one-year deal? And don’t you think he knows how important he is to the Chiefs passing game? I’m telling you, sleeper situation for a nightmare here."

The team has Jon Baldwin as a first round choice in 2011 waiting in the wings as the next go-to receiver, but in today’s pass happy NFL, having two go-to guys is a good thing. Just ask the Arizona Cardinals who invested a first round choice on Michael Floyd of Notre Dame in this year’s NFL Draft despite already having Larry Fitzgerald. It’s not about replacing the veteran but adding another target to pull the attention away.

So far, the situation has been quiet and Brinson admits as much. But it’s clear that Bowe has not yet rid himself of his diva reputation despite his incredible performance and solid team-focused demeanor in recent seasons. The situation ahead will show everyone’s true colors.

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Peyton Hillis Is Teaching Both Coaches And Players Brian Daboll's Offense For Chiefs

In a recent Coach’s Corner interview at the Kansas City Chiefs official site, running backs coach Maurice Carthon sat down to discuss his thoughts on his position heading into the 2012 season. While the return of Jamaal Charles is the main order of business, the addition of Peyton Hillis is also a major addition to the team.

Carthon spoke highly of the former Cleveland Browns running back, and said he’s been a great fit not only on the field but in the classroom as well.

“He brings a part of that toughness running inside or running outside as well, but he’s been good also in the classroom,” said Carthon. “He’s been in this offense before, so he’s teaching and helping me and some of the younger guys learn this offense. That was a great pick for us to get him and our scouting department did a great job getting us someone like that. I think he’ll help us win this year.”

Hillis rushed for 587 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2011, one year after rushing for 11 touchdowns the year before. Both Hillis and Charles are hoping for new starts after a troubled 2011 season.

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Chiefs Minicamp: Romeo Crennel Praises Dontari Poe's Work Ethic, Willingness To Learn

Several storylines are worth following within the Kansas City Chiefs mandatory mini-camp taking place this week. Some stories focus on the absence of Dwayne Bowe. Others on coaches in new places like Brian Daboll or Romeo Crennel. Even still, names like Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles are coming back from injury and working through rehab. But many eyes are also on Chiefs first round pick Dontari Poe as he adjusts to the NFL level.

If he can become a force at defensive tackle, the Chiefs could have a game-changing talent. However, the team also has a long line of bad investments along the defensive interior in the last decade through the draft. Thus Poe is being watched with a furrowed brow and quizzical eye much of the time.

However, the coaching staff are doing nothing but praising their first round choice so far. Even without an official contract, Poe is in camp doing whatever is asked of him. While everyone loved his workouts and athleticism at the NFL Combine, Crennel recently commented on other aspects of his personality he appreciates.

"Well, he's made progress," Crennel said when asked about Poe on Wednesday. "The thing that impresses me the most is not his natural ability, but the fact that he's trying to play the technique the way we play it. The way we play it is not always the easiest way to play it, so he's taking to coaching and executing the way we want him to execute. Like I said yesterday, we have to get the pads on to really be able to tell and find out, but he's taking steps in the right direction."

Analysts noted that Dontari Poe would have to step in and work hard on his technique to succeed at the NFL level. The early word is solid on Poe as he is allowing KC coaches to mold him in their image. He's certainly in great hands and could finally turn into the defensive anchor the Chiefs have lacked since Scott Pioli first arrived in 2009.

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Kendrick Lewis Hailed As Top 10 AFC Breakout Candidate By ESPN

The Kansas City Chiefs have significantly changed the defensive backs on the roster this season, and the team’s secondary should have a new look in 2012 — for better or for worse. While some changes were necessary due to Brandon Carr leaving in free agency, Scott Pioli used the offseason to also strengthen the entire unit.

Brandon Carr has been replaced with Stanford Routt in a swap of free agents. Abram Elam was signed to bolster both safety spots. Eric Berry is coming back from season-ending surgery. Dequan Menzie was drafted as a nickel safety and slot corner hybrid.

Yet so little attention is being paid to Kendrick Lewis through all of this. Brandon Flowers is the cornerstone and Berry is the impact safety coming back. Carr and Routt had their fair share of attention for the movement around it all, but Lewis is the silent young starter in the dark. The Chiefs signed Elam as a back-up to both safety spots, and it’d be great if Lewis could keep things that way. Gary Horton of Scouts, Inc. believes Lewis is in for a jump in his performance based on last season’s results.

“After safety Eric Berry went down in the first game last season with an ACL injury, Lewis was forced to take on a bigger role on the back end of this defense,” said Horton. “He responded well with 60 tackles and three interceptions. He did finish the season with a shoulder problem that led to surgery, so he needs to come back healthy. But for a young guy he has surprisingly good ball skills and instincts, and with Berry back they could really be a good safety duo.”

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Dontari Poe Earning High Marks for Kansas City Chiefs For Work Ethic, Study Habits

Dontari Poe has a lot of work in front of him in the transition from the college ranks at Memphis to the pro level. As an interior defender, technique is everything and Poe will have to work hard every day to slowly learn the playbook, the schemes, how to work best with teammates and his opponents’ tendencies, among other things. But the Chiefs knew they would have an uphill climb with Poe when they drafted him. The reward, they believed, was worth the risk.

Poe was the No. 11 choice in the 2012 NFL Draft and he is a potential steal on paper. He outweighed most of his competition at defensive tackle in the draft by nearly 50 pounds and flashed agility and athleticism that few of them had as well. With three-down lineman potential, Poe was simply too good to pass up.

The good news is that Poe is earning high marks from his defensive line coach for his work ethic and willingness to dig into his studies. Anthony Pleasant seems quite pleased with his prodigy so far.

"It’s good to have a guy of that magnitude and size, you just have to work hard—which he has been doing," said Pleasant. "Coming from college to the pros is a big transition for him, so he’s learning how to play the technique. He is a unique type of player he just has to continue to work hard and push himself. Personally, I just emphasize him watching film, saying this is how you need to play and this is your technique."

If Poe can get the mental side of the game to the point where it’s automatic, then the Chiefs could have a game-changing talent on their hands on the inside. Haloti Ngata and Casey Hampton are similar players who free up the linebackers and ends around them to make plays as the pocket collapses or runners bounce to the outside. Poe has the potential to do the same.

Poe definitely has a long way to go, but so far, so good. Year one might not be a banner year by any means but even a year in which Poe shows he belongs will point to long-term dividends for the Chiefs in years to come.

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Why Abram Elam Is A Perfect Fit For Kansas City Chiefs Secondary

The columns declaring the offseason winners and losers have already been written. The free agents who signed before the NFL Draft received all of the attention and acclaim. Yet the signing announced today for the Kansas City Chiefs in safety Abram Elam is on par with nearly anything the team has done yet this offseason, even if it stays out of the spotlight relative to others.

Peyton Hillis was applauded. Stanford Routt was the first to join in 2012. Eric Winston was called the biggest prize of all. All three alongside Kevin Boss and Brady Quinn were hailed by most NFL analysts as key to a great offseason for the Chiefs front office. The roster is stronger and positions of need and depth were addressed. But one position remained untouched despite the need for an additional veteran.

Safety was an position of concern for the team last season due to the season-ending injury to Pro Bowler Eric Berry. Kendrick Lewis was also banged up in week 13 against the Chicago Bears, and he also underwent shoulder surgery just after the season was over. That left the team perilously thin and led to significant playing time for both Sabby Piscitelli (2 starts in 2011) and Donald Washington (3 starts). The front office simply had to do something to alleviate the dropoff in talent from the starting duo to the next level.

Enter Abram Elam. The Dallas Cowboys started Elam every single game last year and he started 31 of 32 games for the Cleveland Browns in the two seasons prior. That's 47 total starts in three years that the Chiefs are bringing in with the signing of Elam. He's a solid tackler and can defend both the run and the pass and Romeo Crennel will certainly know how to use him.

With the addition of Dequan Menzie in the NFL Draft as a new nickel safety and slot corner hybrid, the Chiefs have definitely helped invigorate the second level on the depth chart at a position that was perilously thin. Wonderful late addition for the Kansas City Chiefs and Scott Pioli

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Peyton Hillis Says Tandem Running Game With Jamaal Charles Should 'Work Out Magnificently' For Chiefs

It wasn't so long ago that a running back was expected to carry the load for an NFL team at all times, racking up incredible amounts of rushing yards while also piling on the carries. Yet in the diversified world of today's NFL, specialists are the name of the game and a franchise's running game likely has at least two or three backs essential for the offense. For the Kansas City Chiefs, it's down to Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis.

The team has taken the tandem approach ever since installing Charles as their featured back. Charles' slight frame made the team limit his carries early in his career and Thomas Jones was the perfect bruising complement who also added a needed veteran presence for what was largely a young, inexperienced offense.

Now Hillis is the new power back, a free agent signing from this offseason intended to bolster the Chiefs' running game and help insure production if Charles is not yet fully healthy. Given his familiarity with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Hillis should be able to do everything he was brought in to do.

"I think this is going to work out magnificently," Hillis said about his a tandem possibility in the backfield with Charles. "We complement each other really well ... He's a tremendous running back with lots of speed and I think I'm a decent back who brings some power. I think it will work well."

Charles is the team's best offensive playmaker, and no one will question whether or not he'll be the featured piece in most offensive schemes. However, Charles also realizes how important it is to have that complement.

"I feel like he's the same as Thomas Jones," Charles said. "He's going to come in and get all the tough yards and all the power and I feel like that was the same thing when Thomas was here. If he can contribute to the team and put points on the board, why not?"

Last year, Charles was lost for the year due to an ACL injury but there's no doubt about his big play ability. Hillis also endured a year filled with drama and frustrations in 2011 so both players are strong bounce back candidates. The Chiefs certainly hope so since they're placing their future hopes in their hands.

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Chiefs OTAs: Rodney Hudson Impressing Kansas City Coaches As New Starting Center

The Kansas City Chiefs have installed an interesting system along the offensive line in the last few years since Scott Pioli took over as general manager. In their hopes of not only bolstering the offensive line but replacing aging veterans with capable younger options, the team has put in an unofficial apprenticeship, of sorts, to help college players adjust to the NFL level.

Rodney Hudson was the second round choice of the Chiefs in the 2011 NFL Draft, and he sat for a year behind longtime starter and NFL iron man Casey Wiegmann. Now that Wiegmann is a likely candidate to retire, or at least not to return to KC in a starting role, Hudson will be taking over.

He saw some level in 16 games and enhanced his versatility, but he also had the chance to take in Wiegmann’s game for an entire NFL season before taking over. Now he’s ready to man the middle for the Chiefs offensive front. From the sound of things, it looks like the approach worked well.

"One of the things that we wanted to see is what kind of command that he would take of the offensive line," Crennel told reporters in Kansas City on Friday. "It looks like he’s doing a nice job of it because he’s been asked to (identify) the (middle linebacker) and re-ID on front. He seems to be handling that pretty well. I think that group is working well together. I think that they’re developing that chemistry that you want on your offensive line. So, he’s doing well."

Crennel complimented Hudson quite a bit in interviews and it’s likely that Chiefs fans are going to like their new center for quite some time given the praise coming from Crennel.

"He’s a smart kid, and he’s a competitive kid," Crennel said. "They worked with him a little bit at center (at Florida State). We just felt like he had the tangibles and the intangibles to do it. He’s got to be tough, he’s got to be smart. In looking at him, we felt he had the center’s body type. Sometimes you’ll say, ‘We’ll try this guy.’ Last year we were able to work him at center a little bit and guard a little bit, and we felt like he could be a center so he’s going to do it full time now."

The team just drafted Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson in the second and third rounds this year, so it’s possible that Allen is on the same track behind Ryan Lilja. Stephenson is a swing tackle behind Branden Albert and Eric Winston at left and right tackle respectively. It will be interesting to see whether the Chiefs use those players for depth or whether there’s a replacement plan in the works at other positions.

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Kansas City Chiefs Will Finally Examine Ricky Stanzi's Potential In 2012

The Kansas City Chiefs made their fans a public promise in the beginning of the 2012 offseason. They said they were going to make the team more competitive at multiple positions, but the front office specifically mentioned the quarterback position as one of note. Matt Cassel, in short, was given notice that he was on a short leash.

Immediately Chiefs Nation believed that the team would sign a free agent to compete with Cassel for the starting spot. After going down for the second half of 2011, life without Cassel was a mess at first for the team. Tyler Palko started four disastrous games for the Chiefs that likely cost them their second division title in a row and Todd Haley’s job. Cassel was already having a poor season, but at least he was light year’s better than the next guy on the roster.

Enter Kyle Orton. Orton was signed after being claimed on waivers from the Denver Broncos and he ended up winning two of the last three games for the Chiefs, including one at Denver to close the season and a major win over the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers. It gave Romeo Crennel a permanent title instead of an interim one, but it also gave Chiefs fans hopes that Orton could be the new guy.

Alas that was not to be, not when the Dallas Cowboys come calling with $5 million per year for a back-up slot. Chad Henne was quickly snatched up by the Jags, as was Jason Campbell by the Bears. The already-slim quarterback market was suddenly gone since the Chiefs were never real players for Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn (despite their wishes to the contrary with Peyton).

Instead the team upgraded at several other spots and threw in a low-key signing of Brady Quinn in the mix alongside Eric Winston and Peyton Hillis The 2012 NFL Draft also came and went and not a single quarterback was taken or even brought in after the fact. A short-lived rookie mini-camp with former Hampton quarterback David Legree was the only sign of anyone knew under center for the Chiefs besides Quinn.

But the Chiefs depth chart is not only Cassel and Quinn. They might occupy the top two spots, but RIcky Stanzi is still sitting there, as fresh as he was on draft day in 2011 when he was announced as the team’s fifth round choice. He never got a snap last season despite the fact that a fan contest could have found a better candidate than Palko. Haley was handcuffed, for whatever reason, to Palko and he lost his job because of it. Orton came in too soon for the team to turn to Stanzi.

The phrase "next man up" exists in NFL circles because the thought is that, as a player, you’re only an injury away from having your chance in the spotlight. Quarterbacks, like anyone else, have to be ready to play at a moment’s notice. Except that rule did not apply for Stanzi. Somehow he was glossed over for a strange back-up an then a free agent signing.

Surprisingly the Chiefs know just a slight touch more about Stanzi now as they did a year ago when they signed him. The NFL lockout cost him significant time with coaches and the playbook, and Haley’s stubbornness took care of the rest. He is the mystery on the team and perhaps he’s the answer to what the team promised in the first place .

The Chiefs are now finally making their move in recent OTAs, allowing Stanzi to get reps in camp to see what he can do. And it looks like the move is paying off.

"I think the reps aren’t really a huge deal right now," said Stanzi about taking snaps with the second unit. "We’re switching on and off with the twos and the threes. The way the reps are cut up, it just happened to fall that way. You can talk about it a lot but it’s nice to actually go out there and rep it out and see some different situations come up and different plays that can be called. You can learn a lot by putting it on tape."

Stanzi might downplay his reps with the second team, but it’s the kind of practice that the team needs to see. Scott Pioli is quoted by Michael Holley in the book War Room as asking certain questions of each new acquisition in the NFL Draft: who will this player replace on our current roster? Perhaps that was asked of several players this year only to realize that no one graded out high enough to not give Stanzi a chance.

Josh Looney writes in today’s OTAs notebook at the Chiefs official site, "The Chiefs have yet to declare a primary backup to starter Matt Cassel and the handling of backup quarterbacks during OTAs suggest the team wants a training camp competition."

The Chiefs already stated they wanted a competition at quarterback and apparently things did not work personnel wise to put any real pressure on the number one spot. However, that doesn’t mean that Stanzi will not get the chance to impress and don the No. 2 position on the depth chart. While it’s likely a pipe dream that Stanzi could supplant Cassel anytime soon, if he can strengthen the overall position in 2012, it’s a step forward.

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Kansas City Chiefs OTAs: Jon Baldwin Discusses Preparation And Dwayne Bowe's Absence

The wide receiver position is one of the most interesting positions on the Kansas City Chiefs roster to try to predict. In an ideal situation, the Chiefs are as stacked as most teams in the NFL. In a nightmare scenario, the whole thing could fall apart. A major component of the success of the wideout corps is the development of Jon Baldwin into a potential No. 1 receiver.

Dwayne Bowe is out, for now, away from OTAs since he's yet to sign the franchise tender and report to the Chiefs voluntary workouts. It's likely that the first sighting of Bowe in the offseason is going to be training camp one way or another. It's a remote possibility that Bowe is traded before the season starts, but given the state of the Chiefs offense, trading away the most predictable producer on the team makes little sense heading into 2012. In short, Bowe should be a Chief in 2012.

Bowe should anchor a corp that is complete. Jon Baldwin was the team's No. 1 draft choice in 2011, and the team hopes he develops into the vertical red zone target that he was projected to be coming out of Pitt. Combined with Steve Breaston, Dexter McCluster and Devon Wylie among receivers and Kevin Boss and Tony Moeaki among tight ends, the Chiefs have numerous targets for Matt Cassel. But the Chiefs will need impact, go-to receivers in crunch time, and that's where Baldwin can help the most.

"Every day you gotta build," said Baldwin from OTAs recently. "You watch a lot of film. I'm studying defenses to see what teams like to do, what kind of teams they are, how cornerbacks play, their linebackers, and what different zones and drops they do. Knowing all of those things is a little better than last year. With where OTAs are at, it's a big stepping stone and I'm looking forward to it."

Baldwin is going to need the time in camp after an abbreviated rookie season. He broke his wrist in an alleged locker room fight with veteran running back Thomas Jones, and didn't make his regular season debut until late October. The NFL also kept all rookies out of any workouts or sessions with coaches after last year's draft due to the 2011 NFL lockout. That means that Baldwin was far behind what the Chiefs would have hoped in his first season -- partly due to circumstances beyond his control.

It's not surprising, then, to hear Baldwin only talking about the little things when asked in interviews about the larger picture. When asked about Dwayne Bowe's absence in camp and whether or not that presented an opportunity, Baldwin took the veteran way out and refused to comment on anything but political talking points.

"Regardless [of Dwayne Bowe's absence], I'm going to continue to do the best that I can do. I don't know anything about that, so I'm just going to do what I have to do and keep helping this team the best that I possibly can."

The Chiefs are going to need Baldwin to take that step forward in year two to help the offense succeed and to show them what they have in house as they make decision on Bowe's future. Thus far, he's saying and doing the right things.

"It's building a stepping stone. You gotta get better every day. That's the main thing we want to do is continue to build up and get better every day."

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Former Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receiver Bobby Sippio Charged With Attempted Murder

For the last decade, Bobby Sippio has tried to parlay his wide receiver skills into a career of some kind. Instead, he’s bounced from team to team, and even football league to football league, trying to make a go of it. His most recent venture with the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League might be his last with the news that he’s been arrested on charges of attempted murder.

Now 31, the former Kansas City Chiefs receiver allegedly kidnapped and assaulted his roommate, Sergio Moore, and threatened to kill him. According to Moore, Sippio picked him up with an accomplice under the guise of helping him move. Instead, he was locked in the car and beaten. From the Orlando Sentinel:

Instead, Sippio pulled a gun out of the center console, Moore told investigators. Moore tried to open the door and the windows, but they apparently had been locked on the driver’s side. Sippio drove to a rural section of Osceola County off Poinciana Boulevard — Sippio is a former Osceola High School Kowboys quarterback — and forced Moore out of the car in a pasture off Oren Brown Road, a sheriff’s report states.

There, Coats and the 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound Sippio punched and kicked Moore and Coats pointed the gun at him, he told deputies. Sippio told Moore that his sister could not save him, a sheriff’s report states. After the beating, Coats and Sippio continued to terrorize Moore with the gun as they drove him home, according to deputies. Sippio and Moore are roommates, investigators said.

Sippio has also been in training camp with the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions among many other professional teams.

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Dexter McCluster Likely To Play Versatile Role On Chiefs Offense Under Brian Daboll

Are the Kansas City Chiefs going to feature Dexter McCluster? Are they going to trade him? Is there a place for him? Will he become a central part of the offense? No one seems to know what the Chiefs will do with the former second round draft choice, especially after the Chiefs drafted players for depth who fit McCluster’s profile at both wide receiver and running back in the 2012 NFL Draft with Devon Wylie and Cyrus Gray.

Yet so far in the offseason workouts for the Chiefs, McCluster is getting time at wide receiver and earning kudos from the coaching staff.

"We’ve given Dexter reps at the wide receiver position in this new offense because we feel like he knows how to play running back and we can put him over at running back at any point in time, but we felt like he needed the work at wide receiver," head coach Romeo Crennel explained. "Probably what that will do is open it up for us to be able to use him however and whenever. We need him at whatever position. He’s taken to it really well. He’s been enthusiastic about it, so that is working out pretty well for us."

McCluster says he’s taking it all in stride, doing what is necessary to become a better player.

"I’m learning everything that I can learn," McCluster said. "Whenever you are asked to do something in this sport, you go out and do it. Coach Daboll is a guy with a winning attitude that knows the ins-and-outs of running a successful offense and I think he’s going to put us in the right situations to be successful."

McCluster rushed 114 times for 516 yards and caught another 46 passes for 328 yards in 2012.

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Kansas State's Tysyn Hartman Hopes To Make His Mark At Chiefs OTAs

Kansas State safety Tysyn Hartman wasn’t drafted in the seven rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft, but he did receive an invite as an undrafted free agent to join the team closest to his alma mater: the Kansas City Chiefs. Drafted or not, Hartman is ready to make his NFL dreams come true at the next level.

Hartman recently took part in the Chiefs rookie-minicamp along with the Chiefs draftees and several tryout players. Now he’s at OTAs with the rest of the Chiefs’ veteran core.

"It was fun," said Hartman. "You’re just glad the Kansas City organization gave you the opportunity to come out here. Of course you have to keep working hard to improve. They threw us in the fire during rookie minicamp and fortunately, I came out of that alive. Now things are sinking in."

Hartman was one of the better safeties in college football last season for K-State, and the team he’s trying out for can certainly use another playmaker at the position. The Chiefs lost Eric Berry for the season last year and Kendrick Lewis had offseason surgery. The secondary as a whole has been thin in recent seasons, and the team drafted Dequan Menzie from Alabama in the fifth round to help that.

However, Menzie is a versatile player who can also play corner. There’s still room for another safety or two if a player contributes can contribute in multiple ways. Veteran Donald Washington is also in the mix, as is cornerback Travis Daniels. Other hopefuls include Terrance Parks and Kyle McCarthy.

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Charlie Weis Hangs Out With Kansas City Chiefs During OTAs On Monday

Now that Todd Haley is gone, some old faces can come back to the building. After only one year with the Kansas City Chiefs, former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left to take the same position back at the college level with the Florida Gators. Now he's the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks after Turner Gill was fired. It's been a roller coaster for the last few years for Weis, but it's clear he's now welcome back at Arrowhead now that Haley is gone.

Apparently Weis was back visiting old friends from his days in New England since Romeo Crennel, Scott Pioli and Brian Daboll are all in house. Weis also likely knows several players from his stint here in 2010. It was rumored that he and Haley butted heads, leading to his exit after one season, but it was a memorable one for the Chiefs offense in which even Matt Cassel made the Pro Bowl.

As for Stewart, the former West Virginia football coach died suddenly today from a heart attack.

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Matt Cassel Speaks About His Offseason And Expectations For Kansas City Chiefs

Perhaps the biggest question mark heading into the 2012 regular season for the Kansas City Chiefs is about Matt Cassel as the starting quarterback. After a middling first three seasons under center for the Chiefs, this is a big year for Cassel. The Chiefs publicly stated they were ready to provide more competition for him as the starter, but signing Brady Quinn has been the only personnel move at the position.

But Cassel sounds quite confident and excited heading into the new year. Perhaps he should be with returning offensive weapons like Tony Moeaki and Jamaal Charles along with an enhanced offensive line and several new faces. Eric Winston, Kevin Boss and Peyton Hillis certainly make the offensive unit better than it's been in recent seasons.

Speaking recently with Steve Wyche, Cassel detailed his offseason and said he's approaching things differently to get healthy and ready.

"My health's great and my hand's healed up now," said Cassel. "This offseason has been a big offseason for me because I've just been so eager to get back and get going with these guys. I've been working out a lot earlier than I normally would be after a normal season. It's been a good experience for me."

When asked about what it will take for him to take his game to the next level, Cassel spoke with confidence.

"The thing is, for me, I feel like I'm there. I feel like I'm part of that group. It's always going to be a team effort. For the Kansas City Chiefs, it doesn't come down to one player. It's always about the team concept. If we can go out there, execute, play good football, we're going to be competitive with anybody."

Even with a slew of injuries, the Chiefs finished within a game of the division lead. Despite the arrival of Peyton Manning in Denver, Cassel believes the team can win as long as they limit mistakes.

"I think for us it's about playing mistake-free football," he said. "For us offensively it's about eliminating the negative football. We were in a lot of those games. Like you said, we finished 7-9. We weren't one of those teams that finished 3-13 and did that kind of deal. So we just have to continue to work hard and continue to put ourselves in a position to be successful and not shoot ourselves in the foot."

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride and SB Nation's NFL page.

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Scott Pioli Explains Why Kansas City Chiefs Didn't Take Quarterback In 2012 NFL Draft

The Kansas City Chiefs worked out a number of quarterbacks going into the 2012 NFL Draft and were often linked with Kirk Cousins in the middle rounds or possibly Ryan Tannehill in the first round. Yet when all 8 picks were selected and announced, not a single quarterback graced the Chiefs draft class despite notions to the contrary.

Recently Scott Pioli took to the airwaves of WHB in Kansas City with Kevin Keitzman to discuss a few topics, one of which was the lack of quarterback in the draft.

"I wouldn’t say it was a weak class but I think we would’ve been reaching," said Pioli. "By the time we made our first pick there were three quarterbacks off the board and I think it continued to shift dramatically. I’m also a firm believer in: You don’t wanna overdraft. Philosophically I’ve talked about drafting based on best player available and trying to do a combination of best player available and need."

The lack of quarterback could come back to haunt the Chiefs this offseason. Whether through free agency or the draft, the Chiefs need someone to back up Matt Cassel. Since Cassel went down for half the season last year, it’s very likely that Brady Quinn or Ricky Stanzi will be responsible for handling the offense. Given the rest of his moves, that’s an odd chance to take given the state of the overall roster.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride and SB Nation's NFL page.

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Kansas City Chiefs Sign Former Arena League Offensive Lineman

Rich Ranglin is already familiar playing offensive line in Kansas City. Now he'll hope that his skills translate to the highest possible level of football after signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. After playing well in 2011 for the Kansas City Command for the Arena Football League, certainly the Chiefs' front office has been aware of him for some time.

Ranglin gives the Chiefs another young lineman to compete for depth along with David Mims and recent draft picks Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen. The team needs to remake the second line as well as figure out what they have for the long-term. Ranglin comes with a solid resume in the AFL. From the Chiefs press release:

Ranglin’s previous experience comes from the Arena Football League where he’s played for three different AFL clubs including the Kansas City Command. He was named the AFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year while playing with the Command in 2011.

A four-year letterman at Central Connecticut State, the alma mater of Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, Ranglin was a preseason All-American selection and earned second-team All-Northeast Conference honors as a senior for the Blue Devils.

This year, Ranglin has played for the San Jose SaberCats.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride and SB Nation's NFL page.

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Kansas City Chiefs Sign Jeff Allen, DeQuan Menzie To First NFL Contracts

The ink is now dry and the signatures official on the first ever NFL contracts for two more of the Kansas City Chiefs draft picks. Offensive lineman Jeff Allen and defensive back DeQuan Menzie will both play a major role of versatility and depth for the Chiefs in 2012 and beyond, and now both are signed for the long-term in Kansas City.

Allen was the Chiefs second round choice in the 2012 NFL Draft that was part of a run on offensive linemen in the round. Guard and center were positions of depth in this draft class, and the Chiefs used it to address the position behind Ryan Lilja and Jon Asamoah.

As for Menzie, the Alabama cornerback can also play safety and should add a versatile player to back up all over the secondary. That’s a major help for a team that lost Brandon Carr to free agency and Eric Berry to season-ending injury last year.

Dontari Poe and Donald Stephenson are now the only draft picks unsigned for the Chiefs.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride and SB Nation's NFL page.

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Kansas City Chiefs Rookie Running Back Cyrus Gray Checks In From Workouts

The Kansas City Chiefs were late to selecting any skill position players in the 2012 NFL Draft due to the early choices of linemen on both sides of the ball. However, even as a sixth rounder, Cyrus Gray, a running back out of Texas A&M, was a solid choice by most accounts for a late-round guy who could surprise.

Gray rushed 198 times for 1,045 yards and 12 touchdowns last season as the primary back for the Texas A&M Aggies. He also caught another 31 passes out of the backfield. Perhaps that's why he's been praised by the front office and head coach Romeo Crennel as a guy who can "do it all".

Gray recently took a few minutes to answer some questions for the KC area media during the Chiefs recent rookie mini-camp.

Media: Can you tell us what it's been like for you this weekend?

Cyrus Gray: It's fast. The tempo is up, not just the speed of the game but just things outside of the field with your position coach, 7 on 7 and everything. It's the tempo.

Some people look at you as sort of a third round back, but Romeo said you can do it all. How do you see yourself?

Just like Romeo said, I can pretty much do it all. I just want to be on special teams and contribute as much as I can.

How much special teams did you play at Texas A&M?

More special teams my first three years. Not really more my senior year.

How do you go and show yourself as a special teams guy? You look at the running back situation here and the guys that you're competing with, at least the top three, aren't going to play special teams. For you to look forward to being inactive or active is probably going to be special teams.

Right, you know, I have to strive hard to do my best in any special teams, so if it's running down on kicks or covering punts, I'm going to have to do my job.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL page, SB Nation Kansas City and Arrowhead Pride.

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Martin Rucker, Leon Williams Among Tryout Players Sent Home From Chiefs Camp

With NFL rosters expanded to 90 slots for now, there are multiple roster slots open for the Kansas City Chiefs to decide to fill. Yet there are also a multitude of players hoping for those spots.

Undrafted free agents, recent 2012 NFL Draft choices and tryout players took the field from Friday through Sunday in the hopes of turning the eye of Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel and the rest of the Chiefs front office and coaching staff. Among those was former Missouri tight end and NFL veteran Martin Rucker. Unfortunately, every tryout player was sent home before Sunday to help the team evaluate players.

"What we told them, and we told their agents when we brought them here, that it was just a tryout and we'd probably send everybody home and then we're going to talk about it and decide or determine if we want to bring anybody else back," Crennel explained. "That includes Leon Williams, who was with me in Cleveland; that includes Martin Rucker, who was with me in Cleveland, so that's where all the tryouts are."

Rucker is hoping to stick in KC after being the star for years for the Missouri Tigers. It's a team and region he knows well and the Chiefs could use some additional help at tight end after also bringing in free agent Dallas Clark.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL page, SB Nation Kansas City and Arrowhead Pride.

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Romeo Crennel Comments Dontari Poe, Jeff Allen And Rest Of Chiefs Draft Class

For those wanting to know a quick snapshot of the latest Kansas City Chiefs choices from the 2012 NFL Draft over the weekend, you can't beat having a coach who will give you quick quotes.

Romeo Crennel took some time out to give a sentence or two about each player's performance at the team's rookie mini-camp held over the weekend. The results are exactly what you'd expect from a group playing for the first time at the NFL level.

Dontari Poe:

"I know everybody wants to know about Poe a little bit. I thought he made some progress from day one until today. He still has work to do."

Jeff Allen:

"Allen missed (Saturday) because of his graduation, but in the first day he looked like he could bend a little bit, took some leadership, asked good questions in the classroom, so we're excited about that."

Donald Stephenson:

"I think he's a good athlete. I think he's going to do well for us."

Devon Wylie:

"Wylie showed he has some quickness and has ability to make some plays. I think that's the case."

DeQuan Menzie:

"I think the big thing is we want to take a look at him at safety as well to see how he picks up on that and if he can handle that. Then that will make a big determination about how we use him."

Cyrus Gray:

"He shows flashes. One time, he looks really good and another time, he looks like he doesn't know what to do yet, but that's what a rookie does."

Jerome Long:

"He had to go back to take some finals, so he had to leave today to do that. He worked hard while he was there."

Junior Hemingway:

"I think he's a sure-handed receiver and I think once he gets acclimated to the way we do things. I think he'll show up a little bit more."

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL page, SB Nation Kansas City and Arrowhead Pride.

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Kansas City Chiefs Rookies Join Veterans Today As Offseason Workouts Continue

From Friday through Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs indoctrinated several new faces into the culture of Arrowhead and the speed and technique of the NFL. Even without pads, it was clear to everyone involved that the pro level is going to take everything and that making the team will be their hardest test yet. Now those rookies will have a chance to work with the pros they’ve admired.

Last weekend was the official rookie mini-camp which now gives way to the veterans returning to Arrowhead Stadium. As the offseason workouts continue today, the Chiefs draft picks, tryout players and undrafted free agents join the fray to help build team chemistry and show the coaching staff what they have when combining everything.

"We got a little something done, got them introduced to our system, to the way that we do things, what we expect of them a little bit," Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said of Kansas City’s rookie class. "I think they got their eyes opened a little, and probably the best part about it now is that they don’t go back home, they get to stay here and then we indoctrinate them into our offseason program.

"Tomorrow morning, they’re going to be doing individual drills with the veterans. Then, they’re going to lift in the second lifting group, which doesn’t have a whole lot of guys in it anyway, and then in the afternoon, they’re going to be in the classroom and doing player program information, so they get to continue what we started. We feel good about that."

To be compared to other hopefuls is one thing, but playing alongside celebrated veterans is another. This will be important for the Chiefs to see what the new guys can do alongside the incumbents. Perhaps they’ll be surprised by who rises to the top.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL page, SB Nation Kansas City and Arrowhead Pride.

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Chiefs Rookie Mini-Camp: David LeGree Frustrated With Weekend

David LeGree was harder on himself than the coaches evaluating him -- at least to the press. But the pressure on a rookie is clear when speaking with the undrafted free agent quarterback from Hampton trying to play his way onto the Kansas City Chiefs roster.

LeGree was the only quarterback among numerous draft picks, UDFAs and tryout players this weekend, which gave him a great chance to show off his talents. Toward the end, he wasn't pleased with his effort.

Josh Looney from the Chiefs official site describes the downturn.

"David LeGree showed signs of fatigue in the closing minutes of Chiefs Rookie Minicamp Sunday afternoon. His passes lacked the spiral from earlier in the weekend and he missed receiving targets high on multiple throws."

"Being the only quarterback out here, you don't get a chance to throw and then come out," LeGree said. "You're throwing every throw. That's my fault. I have to be better than that. There's no excuse, especially not in this league, so I have to do better on that."

However, LeGree said that he was thankful for what he was able to display.

"I've been in the big school atmosphere, but you never have coaching like Jim Zorn's coaching and NFL coaching," LeGree said. "It's just a great experience. Whatever happens next, happens next."

"As a tryout guy, it's a good experience to be out here and to get repetition and NFL coaching. What happens next, I'm not too sure about that yet."

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL page, SB Nation Kansas City and Arrowhead Pride.

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Chiefs Rookie Mini-Camp: Dontari Poe Q&A After Day One

At the end of day one, Dontari Poe seemed tired but focused. One thing for sure, he is handling expectations and the media very well at his first mini-camp with the Kansas City Chiefs. He took a few minutes out after the opening day of practice for the Chiefs draft class to answer questions and it's clear he's saying exactly what you'd expect from a top selection from Scott Pioli.

Here's the video of the media session while the complete interview is transcribed below:

Reporter: How was your first day?

Dontari Poe: It was pretty good. I learned a lot. I learned a lot on the first day, more than I thought I would, but it's all a process. I'm doing the best I can day by day.

Do you feel a pressure to learn as fast as you can to get on the field right away?

I'm doing it anyway. My point of view on it is that pressure is whatever you make of it, so I'm just working my hardest doing the best I can. That's all I can do.

More eyes on you than some of the other rookies?

There may be, but like I said, that don't really concern me. Whether I was the first pick or the last, I'm going to come in here and give it my all anyway. That's what I continue to do.

What do you want to take away from this mini-camp?

To learn everything that I can. People don't know there's a big mental part to this game, and the learning in the curve in the NFL is pretty faster than anything else, so it's just getting as much knowledge as I can.

What'd they have you focus on over there in the corner for about an hour?

Just being explosive. You really don't do too much of this technique when you're in college, so coming here and like I said trying to learn the mental part of it as much as I can. The physical part will come to me.

What are your expectations for yourself as a rookie?

Just being the best. What more can I ask for? Whether that's Pro Bowl or starting or whatever that may be, I'm satisfied with just doing the best that I can.

You get some good one-on-one time with Romeo?

Not yet. I've talked to him. In my visit here I talked to him and he's a very inspirational guy. He's a different kind of coach, but he's the kind of coach you can't do anything but respect.

How's your day going to end today?

Probably a lot of Gatorade and a lot of sleep. Just getting ready to come back here tomorrow and repeat this day. Just do my best and work my hardest.

You guys got the playbooks yesterday. What are those like?

Yeah, I hit those every night. It's a big book, but like I said, you do the best you can. That's the best you can do. I can't be happy with anything but the best I can be.

Coming from Conference USA, do you think you faced good enough competition to compete at this level?

Yeah, to me football is football. Just on this level, the athletes are bigger, faster and stronger. Whether you're coming from a big school or a small school, this is a jump from anywhere. So you just have to come in here practicing to get ready for it.

You mentioned around the draft that you feel you have something to prove. You still feel that way?

Every day. Every day I come out here, I know that some of my people have heard negatives about me, so as much as I can prove them wrong, just trying to do that every day.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL page, SB Nation Kansas City and Arrowhead Pride.

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Kansas City Chiefs Sign 4 Draft Choices Including Devon Wylie, Cyrus Gray

The Kansas City Chiefs have started to ink their draft choices heading into the rookie mini-camp to be held all throughout this weekend. While everyone will be there with or without an official contract, it's nice to get everyone situated and settled financially so the players can completely focus on football.

The Chiefs officially reached agreements with fourth round choice Devon Wylie, sixth rounder Cyrus Gray and the team's two seventh round choices Junior Hemingway and Jerome Long. Terms have not yet been disclosed.

The players remaining unsigned include first round choice Dontari Poe from Memphis, second round offensive lineman Jeff Allen from Illinois and third round tackle Donald Stephenson from Oklahoma. Fifth round defensive back De'quan Menzie from Alabama is also unsigned at this time. Deals should be completed shortly for all players.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL page, SB Nation Kansas City and Arrowhead Pride.

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Kansas City Chiefs Prep For Rookie Mini-Camp This Weekend

The Kansas City Chiefs rookies arrived yesterday for the team’s rookie mini-camp that runs today through Sunday, and it’s an exciting time for the recent draftees and undrafted free agents in house. From Dontari Poe, the team’s first round draft choice, to myriad other hopefuls, this weekend is their first step to making an NFL roster.

Much of the weekend is about getting an introduction to the team and its facilities and personnel. There will be a physical, team meetings, and practice sessions through the weekend. There will also be a rookie luncheon to meet former players and staff. From the team’s website:

Slated to attend the rookie luncheon are Pro Football Hall of Famers Bobby Bell, Len Dawson, Willie Lanier and Jan Stenerud and Emmitt Thomas. Chiefs Hall of Famers Deron Cherry and Will Shields will also be in attendance along with former player and current scout Willie Davis, as well as former player and Chiefs Ambassador Danan Hughes.

The former players will eat lunch with the rookies and educate the team’s newest players on the history of the franchise. Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt will also attend the luncheon and officially welcome the rookies to the organization.

The Chiefs hope this class helps round out depth and impact along the line while also improving competition at several other key positions.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL page, SB Nation Kansas City and Arrowhead Pride.

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Eric Winston Comments On Ryan Lilja, Rest Of Chiefs Offensive Line

It’s clear that Eric Winston is going to be one of the more affable players on the Kansas City Chiefs roster this season. Given the quantity and quality of his quotes for the media before the season has even started shows that he will likely be a vocal leader and one who will appropriately speak out at certain moments. As he was recently interviewed for the Chiefs official site, WInston spoke out about the state of the Chiefs line and believes great things are in store.

"Ryan Lilja is going to be our leader, I think, in that room," Winston said of his first impressions. "He’s a veteran guy that’s won a Super Bowl before. He knows how to do it.

"You’ve also got guys like Jon Asamoah and Branden Albert, who are young players but I think they are going to be really good players. Obviously, Hudson is going to have to fill some big shoes for [Casey] Wiegmann. I see no reason why we can’t develop that same kind of continuity and same kind of leadership and everything that goes into being a top offensive line in this league."

The comments are interesting since Lilja has heard replacement talk all offseason as the Chiefs could potentially take a David DeCastro in the first round or even a Kevin Zeitler or Cordy Glenn a bit later in the draft if the Chiefs can trade back. Even if the Chiefs take a guard, however, they could use him in the same way they did Rodney Hudson last season as a back-up for multiple positions as he learns at the pro level.

More than anything, it’s clear that Winston is going to be a nice new addition in multiple ways. While his on-field impact is most important, he’s a new vocal leader for the offensive line off the field as well.

For more on the Chiefs, be sure to check out Arrowhead Pride.

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Tony Moeaki Injury Update: 'Rehab Is Good' Says Chiefs Tight End

It was very clear from the beginning that the Chiefs offense was going to be in trouble without Tony Moeaki. While other key players like Jamaal Charles were also out, Matt Cassel (or any other quarterback that the Chiefs started for that matter) was clearly lost without his dependable target at tight end last year, so the team is hoping that Tony Moeaki can return to form after a season-ending injury due to torn knee ligaments.

‘’Rehab is good,’’ Moeaki said to Adam Teicher of the KC Star recently. ‘’As far as team activities, I’m just doing what the trainers and the coaching staff tells me to do. I don’t really know until we get there.’’

Moeaki said that the loss of the season was frustrating, which is an obvious statement for any athlete. Still, he’s ready to move on.

‘’It was pretty frustrating,’’ said Moeaki, who indicated he hasn’t watched any video of the play on which he was injured. ‘’You can’t do what you like to do. You just have to watch. That’s pretty tough.’’

The Chiefs also added some insurance this offseason in the form of veteran Kevin Boss, who was also injured significantly last year with the Oakland Raiders. Between the pair, the Chiefs will either have two tight ends who can be weapons in the passing game or two players who struggle to play on the field together.

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Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson Both In Make-Or-Break Seasons With Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs heavily invested in the defensive end position over the course of two consecutive drafts picking within the top five. Now they’re going to have to decide what to do with both Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson as soon as the 2012 season is finished (if not sooner).

Instead of selecting impact players at different positions with such choices available for them, the Chiefs took Glenn Dorsey at the No. 5 overall position in the 2008 NFL Draft. As Scott Pioli came in, the Chiefs were in worse shape and picked No. 3 in the 2009 Draft. That year they chose another LSU lineman, Tyson Jackson, to man the side opposite of Dorsey. Now both players are in position to likely hit the market this next spring if the Chiefs so choose.

Dorsey is going to be a free agent. There’s no way around that one unless the Chiefs want to tag him, which means paying him among the league’s best defensive linemen, or signing him to an extension of some kind. As for Jackson, the team just restructured his deal, voiding the 2014 contract year in the process. Most have written that he’s going to be a free agent following Dorsey, but it could be at the same time.

“Much like [Jason] Smith, Jackson took about a 50 percent pay cut in 2012, but received significant 2012 guarantees,” writes Jason La Canfora. “The restructuring keeps him with the Chiefs, but also allows him to hit the market as soon as next year.”

The reason is that Jackson’s salary number for 2013 is an exorbitant $14.72 million. That’s the same sort of number the Chiefs had to rework this season. However, as they head into 2013, what reason will Jackson have to rework his deal unless he really wants to stay in Kansas City. The sooner a player can get to free agency, the sooner he can get the big paycheck that free agency allows. Just ask Brandon Carr how he feels about the new $50 million he signed for.

The reality is that the Chiefs will be looking at both Jackson and Dorsey in the 2012 season to check their progress, to monitor the market and see where and how they want to invest their money. Both players could be re-signed, let go, or fans could also witness a cornerback like scenario where the Chiefs keep one of two and watch the other walk. Either way, Jackson’s deal could force the question sooner rather than later.

For more on Jackson's contract situation, check out Arrowhead Pride.

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Stanford Routt Says 'Stability' Was Among Key Reasons For Signing With Chiefs

Stanford Routt recently gave some interesting quotes when discussing his reasons for signing with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason with the press. As the Chiefs knew they had a decision to make on Brandon Carr, they decided to go after a possible replacement before the free agency period began to give them a head-start on a player that the Oakland Raiders made available. Routt soon signed and gave the Chiefs some flexibility at cornerback moving forward.

Routt said that he was influenced by the team’s stability among other things. He told Bob Gretz, “I think there’s a little more stability here, to say the least,” Routt said. “I think that was one of the things that made me choose here, the stability within the organization from the top to the bottom."

That’s an interesting statement coming just a couple of months after the Chiefs drama-filled end of season that resulted in Todd Haley leaving, allegations of wire tapping and a hostile work environment and much more. The general thought was that Kansas City might not be a destination for free agents because of the odd news coming out of Arrowhead. Instead, key free agents like Routt, Peyton Hillis and Eric Winston ended up signing on the dotted line.

That’s good news for a team that needed some since the 2011 season was one to forget.

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Matt Cassel Says He's Not Not Threatened By Possible Ryan Tannehill Addition To Chiefs

There’s no questioning why the Kansas City Chiefs brass loves Matt Cassel. While the quarterback has his detractors on field, Cassel says everything right off of the field. Despite an offseason filled with public statements about more competition for quarterback and the pursuit of Peyton Manning among others, Cassel seems unfazed by it all. In fact, it sounds as if he’s truly a team-first player despite his longing to stay at starter.

"Every offseason you go into it with an open mind," Cassel told Josh Looney. "Whether we bring in a fourth quarterback, whoever comes in here, we’ll embrace them. It’s about the room and if you can get quality guys into that quarterback room, and we can push each other, then that’s what it’s all about."

That fourth quarterback line was said in response to rumors about the Chiefs drafting Ryan Tannehill. Cassel’s response is perfect, because even if the Chiefs pass on Tannehill in the first round, the team is still a likely landing spot for some prospect — be it Brandon Weeden in the second or Russell Wilson in the fifth, for example.

"For me, I keep an open mind about what is going on," Cassel said. "A lot of people don’t realize how much time these quarterbacks spend together and it’s all about what kind of room you have. The guys who can contribute, hold you accountable and push you, competition really does make you better."

For more information on the Chiefs offseason program, check out Arrowhead Pride.


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Romeo Crennel Says Matt Cassel Still The Starter For The Chiefs At Quarterback

Brady Quinn could still surprise. Ricky Stanzi could startle everyone. But Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel also made it clear that Matt Cassel is still the team’s starter at this stage in the offseason despite the public statements that the Chiefs would want to challenge that made just months ago.

Recent comments on WHB by Crennel put the quarterback position into view for the team, and it sounds like a team who is willing to largely go with what they had last season — besides substituting Quinn for Tyler Palko.

"Well I tell you what we’ve told all the quarterbacks that they will be competing," said Crennel. "Now they will be given an opportunity, but right now Matt Cassel has been the guy that has taken us to the playoffs in the past and he’s going to be the guy and if those other guys can unseat him it’ll be good for us because it’s better all the way around.

“If they don’t unseat him they will just wait their turn and be the best teammates they can be, but I think we have a good group of quarterbacks that will work well together and be ready to step in if they have to."

That’s not the news that most Chiefs fans were hoping to hear, but anything said before the NFL Draft can be rendered useless in a few minutes. Remember Scott Pioli saying he’d never draft a safety in the top five? It’s possible the Chiefs are publicly posturing before taking a quarterback in the draft. Then again, it’s also possible that the Chiefs roll into 2012 hoping that Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn are enough to win the West.

For more information on the Chiefs offseason program, check out Arrowhead Pride.


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Chiefs Offseason Program 2012: Ryan Lilja Questions Ability, 'Am I A Step Slower?'

As the Kansas City Chiefs move closer to the 2012 NFL Draft, the stark reality facing offensive guard Ryan Lilja is that his competition might be announced soon. With names like David DeCastro and Kevin Zeitler often linked to the Chiefs in mock drafts in the first two rounds, Lilja has to realize that it could be difficult to stave off a challenger for his spot on the Chiefs line.

His quotes in a new article in the Star with reporter Adam Teicher gives an honest assessment of his conditioning in 2011 with the truncated lockout. It’s a sign that he has some work ahead of him and that he has questions himself:

"I don’t want to blame not having an offseason program last year because I’ve been doing this long enough that I shouldn’t need one," said Lilja, who played at Shawnee Mission Northwest and Kansas State. "So I didn’t know. Sometimes I lost sleep about it. Am I am step slower? Am I weaker? Is it age? It can’t be age. Most guys who are 30 are kind of peaking, at least the linemen.

"But maybe it’s that I need this program. I got so far away from it last year. I was training but I was boxing. I was swimming. I was doing stupid stuff like beating on tires with a sledgehammer. I was so far away from footwork stuff that we need to do and getting into a stance and coming out of a stance. So maybe getting back to football stuff this spring will help me."

Lilja’s right that linemen peak around his age. Brian Waters, 35, just made the Pro Bowl and he’s five years older than Lilja at 30. Scott Wells is 31, but did the same. Logan Mankins and Jason Peters were also Pro Bowl linemen in 2011-12, and they are the same age as Lilja. In short, it’s not about aging. Instead, it’s about maintaining an ability to play at a high level — something the former K-State star is in control of.

For more information on the Chiefs offseason program, check out Arrowhead Pride.

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