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Injury Roulette Claims Kolby … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

It can happen in the blink of an eye. It did to Kolby Smith.

The Chiefs were at the midway point of the 2008 season. Larry Johnson had been sent home for being, well for being Larry Johnson. He wasn’t playing, he wasn’t even practicing. His absence provided an opportunity for Smith, then a second-year running back out of Louisville.

When injuries to Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes in 2007 gave the rookie a chance, he stepped up and performed, running for 407 yards on 112 carries. That included a 31-carry, 150-yard game against the Raiders.

A year later, Johnson was gone again and Smith was ready again. On November 2, at Arrowhead Stadium he was off to a big day against Tampa Bay, running 10 times for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Then came that instant, that moment every player dreads; Smith took a handoff and went right, moved back inside and planted his right leg to cut left. That’s when a Tampa Bay defensive back slammed into his right knee, leaving Smith in a crumpled heap on the field.

On Monday, some 20 months later, Smith was still feeling that blow. He was released by the Chiefs, one of six players that were cut loose as the team tidies up its roster for draft choice signings and a football vacation until the start of training camp.

Anybody that knows Kolby Smith, or saw how hard he worked to come back from his torn patellar tendon, is feeling pretty sad today. Smith was one of the good guys in the Chiefs locker room. He’s a pro, a man who does what he’s asked to do on the football field and in preparation off the field, and then he does more. The fact that he came back from that patellar tendon injury was an achievement; some players have seen their careers derailed by a torn patellar.

But he got back on the field last year. The first seven games of the regular season were spent on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He played in four games before suffering an ankle injury in late November against San Diego and ended up back on the injured reserve list, missing the season’s final five games.

It became readily apparent during the Chiefs OTA sessions and the just completed three-day mini-camp that the clock was ticking on Smith’s time in Kansas City. With Charles watching from the sidelines after his off-season shoulder surgery and rehab, 11-year veteran Thomas Jones was running with the first team. Little known Kestahn Moore has been a junior version of Jones, with the same body type and running style; he’s been second team. Second-year man Javarris Williams has handled the third team duties with veteran Jackie Battle.

Then came Smith’s chances – they were few and far between. The difference was Moore, the first-year back out of the University of Florida who had a cup of coffee last season with the Broncos and Chargers. Moore is a bigger, faster and stronger back, but he does not have the moves of Smith.

Unfortunately, because of the injuries, Smith no longer has many of those moves anymore. Since there was limited participation ahead for him in the kicking game, Smith did not provide much to the roster. Thus he’s out of work.

Here are quick capsules on the other five players that were released on Monday:

QB Matt Gutierrez – he was running behind Tyler Palko at the Chiefs quarterback position and it wasn’t like Palko was lighting up the skies with some great passing. But Gutierrez is what he is; the upside is known and predictable. With more opportunities, Palko may improve from what now are very inconsistent ways. Even at that, Palko should continue to rent, not buy; he could easily be replaced down the road when passers start turning up on the waiver wire.

OT Jermail Porter – a wrestler at Kent State who had not played college football, porter got into t he league through the Patriots in 2008, when Scott Pioli was still there. When New England cast him off last year, the Chiefs signed him off the street. Again, it’s hard to judge anything with linemen when they are not allowed to put the pads on and play football. Porter looked like he had some things going athletically but it was just too far down the road where he might produce.

OT Nick Landry – an undrafted rookie out of Tulane, Landry was tall and skinny at 6-5, 291 pounds. Again, no real football made it hard to judge a lot of aspects of his game.

CB Andre Jones – was signed after the team’s rookie camp, where he participated as a tryout player. On the corner the soon to 23-year old Maryland native had a hard time climbing up the depth chart, no matter how fluid it might be these days. There were at least six other CBs ahead of him.

TE Leroy Banks – and his release was a bit of a surprise. There’s no question a log jam exists at the tight end position; before Banks was released there were six players on the roster. Banks was the shortest and the second lightest of the group. As a receiver, he showed skill in getting separation and making some difficult catches. But his size made him vulnerable in the blocking game. With Tony Moeaki stepping forward in the last few practices the Chiefs were reminded that they drafted a tight end that can catch the ball the way Banks does.

THE CHIEFS CAN CHOP PAGE’S TENDER OFFER TODAY

Pioli does not talk about things like contracts and negotiations so we don’t have any idea whether the Chiefs will take the opportunity they have on Tuesday to drop their tender offer to restricted free agent S Jarrad Page.

The agreement between the players and owners says that on June 15th, the teams have the right to drop their original tender offer to 110 percent of the player’s salary from last season. Here are Page’s numbers in simple form:

  • Page’s salary in ’09 – $1,545,000.
  • Tender offer for ’10 – $1,759,000.
  • 110 percent of Page’s ’09 salary – $1,699,500.
  • If Page doesn’t sign the original tender offer it would cost him – $59,500.

If a restricted free agent does not sign his tender offer by Week No. 10 of the regular season, he cannot play in 2010 and would remain a restricted free agent in 2011, with all rights remaining with the team.

As of late Monday night, there were 13 restricted free agents who had not signed their tender offers. About a dozen players inked those offers in the last 48 hours before teams could slice the payoff.

Still unsigned along with Page were: S Atari Bigby, DE John Jolly and CB Tramon Williams of Green Bay; RB Ronnie Brown of Miami; G Logan Mankins of New England; S Roman Harper and OT Jammal Brown of New Orleans; LB Shawnee Merriman, OT Marcus McNeil and WR Vince Jackson of the Chargers; OT Donald Penn of Tampa Bay and CB Carlos Rogers of Washington.

NFL NEWS & PERSONNEL FILE FOR JUNE 14

  • BRONCOS – RFA OLB Elvis Dumervil signed his tender offer, a 1-year $3,168,000 contract – the NFL leader in sacks last year with 17, he wanted a long-term deal with the big signing bonus. That may still come, as both sides continue negotiations.
  • BROWNS – RFA RB Jerome Harrison signed his tender offer, a 1-year, $1,759,000 contract – despite his big finish in ’09 and historic day against the Chiefs, Cleveland management wasn’t prepared to provide Harrison with any long term deal; RFA RB Lawrence Vickers signed his tender offer, a 1-year, $1,759,000 contract – he’s considered one of the league’s better blocking fullbacks; RFA OLB Matt Roth signed his tender offer, a 1-year, $1,809,000 million contract – the 27-year old has asked to be traded, so badly does he want out of Cleveland; RFA LB D’Qwell Jackson signed his tender offer, a 1-year, $1,759,000 contract – one of the most active defensive players on the Browns roster, he’s under-rated around the league; RFA S Abram Elam signed his tender offer, a 1-year, $1,759,000 contract – a starter last year for the Browns, he faces some draft choice talent in the competition for playing time at safety.
  • BUCCANEERS – signed 3rd-round draft choice CB Myron Lewis to a 4-year contract, terms undisclosed – he’ll push for a starting job in the Tampa 2 defense; released DE Maurice Evans.
  • CARDINALS – RFA G Deuce Lutui signed his tender offer, a 1-year, $1,759,000 contract – he’s been a starter since his rookie season for Arizona.
  • CHARGERS – released WR Marcel Thompson – undrafted rookie free agent out of Lindenwood in St. Louis.
  • CHIEFS – released RB Kolby Smith, QB Matt Gutierrez, OT Jermail Porter, CB Andre Jones, TE Leroy Banks and OL Nick Landry.
  • DOLPHINS – released DE/OLB Brian Johnston – former Chiefs draft choice that has battled injuries throughout his career.
  • 49ERS – signed 6th-round draft choice RB Anthony Dixon to a 4-year, $ contract – coming out of Mississippi State, Dixon is trying to work his way into the San Francisco depth chart behind starter Frank Gore.
  • REDSKINS – RFA ILB Rocky McIntosh signed his tender offer, a 1-year, $1,759,000 contract – he’ll try to keep his starting job in the changeover to a new defense in Washington; released K Justin Medlock and OL Paul Fanaika – Medlock is the former Chiefs draft choice out of UCLA.
  • TITANS – QB Vince Young apologized for being part of a fight in a Dallas strip club that led to his being served with a citation for assault by the Dallas police. “I just made a mistake; I made a mistake even being there and I let that guy provoke me into doing what I did,” Young told the Nashville media. “I pray to God that Roger Goodell doesn’t come down hard on me”; RFA MLB Stephen Tulloch signed his tender offer, a 1-year, $2,521,000 contract – last year with the Tennessee defense, he had 121 total tackles and 2 sacks; agreed to terms with 6th-round draft choice S Myron Rolle on a 4-year, $1,797,900 contract with a $79,000 signing bonus – the Rhodes Scholarship winner just finished up his finals at Oxford and will try to make a spot for himself on the deep Titans secondary; the NFL suspended LB Gerald McRath for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs – McRath was starting by the end of last season and was penciled in as a first team going into the off-season.
  • VIKINGS – RFA DE Ray Edwards signed his tender offer, a 1-year, $2,521,000 contract – he had 8.5 sacks last year and at 25 years old, Edwards is still maturing as a player. Of course it helps having Jared Allen on the other side of the defense; signed 5th-round LB Nate Triplett to a 4-year, $ contract – coming out of the University of Minnesota, where he only started one season for the Gophers.; released RB James Johnson – he was on the Minnesota practice squad last year; released OT Matt Hanson – an undrafted rookie free agent; released OT Marlon Winn – undrafted rookie free agent who was three-year starter at Texas Tech; released DB Angelo Williams – undrafted rookie free agent out of Fresno State; released WR Aaron Shea – undrafted rookie free agent from Stephen F. Austin.

10 Responses to “Injury Roulette Claims Kolby … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • June 15, 2010  - SG says:

    Are we about to see a flurry of draft pick signings?


  • June 15, 2010  - KC_Guy says:

    SG: 7 max … ;-)


  • June 15, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Still not quite sure what Page’s deal is. Does he think another team is going to pay him more than $1.7 million this season? He’s playing a dangerous game by not signing.

    Too bad about Kolby. But, I think we all knew it was coming.


  • June 15, 2010  - RW in the ATL says:

    Question open for discussion: What NFL position returns the shortest career? RB would have to be toward the top of the list, I would think.

    Moving on, this time period we’re entering is truly the doldrums of the off-season in the NFL. Time now to hunker down and count the days until training camp opens as news will be fairly barren over the next 6 weeks.


  • June 15, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    yeah, sad to see colby go, but you cant continue to wait and waste a roster spot. Kolby nfl career is unfortunately over


  • June 15, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    I wouldn’t count Kolby Smith out just yet, gorillafan. He has the heart and desire. The work ethic is there. It’s just a question of if he can stay healthy.

    But, with Charles and Jones…Moore coming on strong…McCluster who can easily play RB…and Javaris Williams apparently showing something that keeps him around…our backfield was just too crowded. At least Kolby got cut early on, so he has plenty of time to find another team…which I think he will.


  • June 15, 2010  - bhive01 says:

    I feel really bad for Smith. He was such a breath of fresh air when LJ wasn’t there. For starters, he actually seemed to be able to get more than 2 yards a down even with the porous O-line. That being said, given the depth at RB he’s dead weight. No disrespect intended whatsoever. I wish all the other players have a fraction the heart that you described Smith having. Hopefully, he gets and stays healthy, and finds a team where he can shine.


  • June 15, 2010  - Anon says:

    I think Smith is entering into dangerous territory now. He’s still young enough to play, but when it comes to adding that last or 2nd to last RB to your roster, who do you chose? A 4 year guy with a pretty long injury history? or that undrafted free agent that might turn out to be something.?

    Unfortunately for Smith, most teams are going to go with the younger guy. Hopefully someone gives him a chance though…. from all accounts, he’s a great dude.


  • June 16, 2010  - Chief Joseph says:

    Sad about Kolby, I was a big fan. When the kid was healthy, he showed flashes of skills that reminded me of Priest Holmes, but unfortunately, every time he started to get it going he ended up hurt. I hope he stays healthy the rest of his career and gets a chance elsewhere. Good luck Kolby!


  • June 16, 2010  - Big Lee says:

    Kolby Smith has signed with the Broncos. Don’t think there’s much opportunity there, either. I hope Smith can stay in the league without hurting the Chiefs, which he may well do if he somehow sticks with the Donkeys. This is a sign Chiefs roster is improving, however.




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