Best SFAs In Chiefs History … Morning Cup O’Chiefs

They are referred to as Street Free Agents, but SFA could also be SCFA or Second Chance Free Agent.

An SFA is a player that was found wanting by a pro football team that signed him to a contract and then after a period of time released him. He’s then “on the street” available to sign with any team in the league.

Every NFL team has SFAs in their past that made history for their performances. The Chiefs organization had one of the finest SFA’s in pro football history in Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson. Until he clicked with his former college coach Hank Stram as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Texans in the 1962 season, Dawson had been a major disappointment as a pro football player.

He was drafted in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers; they selected him with the fifth choice of the NFL Draft in 1957. The sixth-choice belonged to the Cleveland Browns, who desperately wanted Dawson – an Ohio native. When the Steelers grabbed him first, the Browns had to settle for a running back out of Syracuse named Jim Brown.

In three seasons with the Steelers, Dawson played behind Hall of Fame QB Bobby Layne and ended up starting one game. He was traded in 1960 to the Cleveland Browns, where he started one game in those two seasons for head coach Paul Brown. After the ’61 season, Dawson asked for his release and Brown gave it to him.

That’s when he signed with Stram and the Texans. It was a move that was barely recognized in Dallas when it happened and caused no ripples across the face of pro football. Yet, it would prove to be one of the finest SFA signings in football history. Dawson’s career was such that he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

 

#1 – Len Dawson/Quarterback

  • Entered the NFL – He was the 1st-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers as the fifth selection in the 1957 NFL Draft.
  • Previous – Pittsburgh Steelers (1957-59, played in 19 games with 1 start) and Cleveland Browns (1960-61, played 9 games with 1 start.)
  • Joined Chiefs – signed with the Dallas Texans in the spring of 1962; played 14 seasons with the franchise, retiring at the conclusion of the 1975 season, playing in 183 games, with 157 starts with the Texans and Chiefs.

Highlights – Dawson started the 1962 AFL Championship Game and Super Bowl I and IV as the Chiefs quarterback and was named MVP of the Kansas City victory over Minnesota in New Orleans. He was a nine-time AFL all-star or Pro Bowl participant. Over his 19-season career he started 159 regular season games and his teams had a 94-57-8 record with 239 TD passes against 183 interceptions. He was a career 57.1 percent in completing passes and led the league in percentage in six seasons. Dawson finished with an 82.6 career passer rating.

#2 – Brian Waters/Guard

  • Entered the NFL – He was a college free agent in 1999 coming out of North Texas State and signed as a tight end/fullback/H-back with the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Previous – Waters went to training camp in 1999 with the Cowboys and he was released on the final cutdown before the start of the regular season.
  • Joined the Chiefs – He signed with Kansas City as a SFA in January of 2000; The Chiefs decided his future would be better served as an offensive lineman, and Waters was sent to NFL Europe where he played one season at center for the Berlin Thunder; Waters made the Chiefs roster in the 2000 season and remains with the club.

Highlights – Waters became the starter at left guard midway through the 2001 season and has not relinquished the job yet, missing just three starts over the last nine seasons; earned Pro Bowl honors in five seasons (2004-06, 2008, and 2010.) He was a Pro Bowl starter twice (2004-05) and in those same two seasons he received All-Pro honors. In 2004, Waters became the first offensive lineman to earn AFC Player of the Week honors.

#3 – Kimble Anders/Fullback

  • Entered the NFL – He signed as a college free agent out of the University of Houston in 1990 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Previous – After going through training camp and the pre-season with the ’90 Steelers, Anders was part of the final roster cut.
  • Joined Chiefs – Anders signed with the Chiefs in March ’91; he played 10 seasons with the team and was a starter for 6 seasons (1993-1998); he retired after the 2000 season.

Highlights – Coming out of the University of Houston, Anders was better known as a receiver than a runner, and he continued that in the NFL with the Chiefs. He earned three trips as a Pro Bowl fullback because of his catching ability in the West Coast offense. Over his 125-game career, Anders caught 369 passes for 2,829 yards and 9 TDs. He added 2,261 rushing yards on 495 carries with 9 TDs. His most productive season came in 1997 when he touched the ball 138 times and produced 850 yards and 2 TDs.

#4 – Tony Richardson/Fullback

  • Entered the NFL – He was signed as a college free agent out of Auburn by the Dallas Cowboys in 1994.
  • Previous – Richardson spent the 1994 season with the Cowboys practice squad and was not activated to the regular roster.
  • Joined Chiefs – He signed as a SFAZ with Kansas City in February 1995; he spent 11 seasons and 163 games with the Chiefs (1995-2005) and was named to three Pro Bowls (2003-2005) and one All-Pro selection (2004); he left the Chiefs as an unrestricted free agent in 2006, signing with Minnesota where he spent two seasons (2006-07); Richardson has spent the past three seasons with the New York Jets (2008-10).

Highlights – Richardson was one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL in the 2000s and he plowed the ground for everyone from Marcus Allen, Greg Hill, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson; when he ran himself, he had 395 carries for 1,576 yards and 15 TDs. He also caught 177 passes for 1,298 yards and 9 TDs. His most productive season came in 2000, when he ran for a career high 697 yards and caught passes for 468 yards. That was 1,165 yards in total offense on 205 touches with 6 TDs.

#5 – Eddie Kennison/Wide Receiver

  • Entered the NFL – He was selected in the 1st-round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams with the 18th selection.
  • Previous – St. Louis Rams (1996-98, 45 games), New Orleans Saints (1999, 16 games), Chicago Bears (2000, 16 games), Denver Broncos (1991, eight games.) He was released by the Broncos on November 15, 2001 when he left the team the night before a game because of family issues.
  • Joined Chiefs – Kennison was signed by the Chiefs on December 3, 2001; he played in seven seasons with Kansas City (2001-07). A severe hamstring injury limited him in the ’07 season and when his contract expired in 2008, the Chiefs did not make an attempt to sign him; he went on to play 3 games with the St. Louis Rams in the ’08 season; he retired on a one-day contract with the Chiefs in 2010.

Highlights – He had back to back seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards (2004-05), with his career best being 2005 when he caught 68 passes for 1,102 yards and 5 TDs. Overall in his 15-year NFL career with five teams, Kennison played in 179 games with 154 starts, catching 548 passes for 8,345 yards and 42 TD catches. With the Chiefs he had 91 games, 85 starts, 321 catches, 5,230 yards and 25 TDs, or more than half of his career numbers in six seasons and five games wearing red and gold.

Also considered – TE Walter White (1975-79, 63 games), WR-PR J.T. Smith (1978-84, 83 games), OL Glenn Parker (1997-99, 42 games), QB Rich Gannon (1995-98, 27 games), QB Bill Kenney (1979-88, 106 games), OL Rich Baldinger (1983-92, 133 games), LB Anthony Davis (1994-98, 68 games), LB Jerry Blanton (1979-85, 92 games.)

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Coming up on Thursday: the top UFA/RFA signees in Chiefs history.


One Response to “Best SFAs In Chiefs History … Morning Cup O’Chiefs”

  • May 26, 2011  - Charlie Thomas says:

    Bob – another poor job of research. Where are Deron Cherry, Nick Lowery, Bob Grup, etc. All Pro Bowl players.




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