When the Chiefs travel to Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, Chris Chambers will be making his first return to San Diego since being released by the Chargers. The veteran wide receiver is the first person to tell you that being cut has motivated him.
“I’m definitely playing with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder because of the way things ended in San Diego,” said Chambers. “I’m just looking to prove to myself and my teammates that I can help them win games.”
Chambers has already shown he can help them win games, as he did last Sunday against the Steelers. His 47-yard catch set up the tying touchdown, and then the 61-yard catch and run in overtime made the winning FG possible.
“Chris Chambers has done a great job creating another element of big play possibilities for us that we really didn’t have early on in the season,” said QB Matt Cassel.
Chambers said he won’t lose his focus or amp up his intensity for this weekend’s game.
“It’s my job, so I will be professional about it,” said Chambers. “It will be fun just playing in that stadium, beautiful weather and see the fans and my teammates that I enjoyed playing with. I’m just looking to have fun for the most part.”
After Tuesday’s practice, Chambers is especially looking forward to that nice southern California weather. He can go back and tell his former teammates about the crazy coach of the Chiefs who takes his team outside for practice in 40 degree temperatures, with rain falling and wind gusts up to 20 miles per hour.
“When we came here the weather was never on our side so those guys know all about how cold and windy it can get around here,” Chambers said. “It’s a little bit of change for me coming from Miami and then San Diego. I’m sure this is going to make us better when we have the chance to play at home.”
Man, if he isn’t used to the weather, imagine what he’ll be able to do when he learns to love the Kansas City wind, rain and snow.
Coming off his huge game last week against the Steelers, Chambers is poised for a big time return to San Diego.
A much more under the radar player to watch this weekend is LB Jovan Belcher. The undrafted rookie from Maine made one of the biggest plays of last Sunday’s game during overtime and will continue to find his way to the field more often. Before he went to Maine for football, Belcher was a wrestler in high school.
Just him, another man and the mat. That’s the way he liked it. He learned balance. He learned leverage. He learned to rely on himself. That’s the way for a wrestler, long hours and unforgiving nights. Belcher said he spent evenings jogging the roads of West Babylon, N.Y., cutting weight and preparing for his next match. Football was fun. Wrestling was life.
“My sport,” he said, “it’s just you. You don’t have somebody pushing you. It builds your mental toughness.”
Belcher was an All-American wrestler three times in high school. He said he was best at 171 pounds. But football offered two things that wrestling did not: a chance to compete in college and a life without having to obsess over weight.
Belcher gave up wrestling to play college football. Success wasn’t a one-on-one event anymore, and he was no longer trapped in a 171-pound shell. During his junior year, Belcher played defensive end at 235 pounds.
He signed with the Chiefs after the draft came and went, and he joined the team as a special-teams long shot. He was quick and sturdy, and coaches kept noticing a few skills that were more noticeable in Belcher than the other Chiefs defenders: leverage, balance and a knack for takedowns.
“I always like to think anything is possible,” he said.
The Chiefs hope they’ve found something in Belcher and several others that they didn’t count on. Haley said that’s essential for a team to make the kind of progress it’ll take for Kansas City to eventually complete its turnaround.
If Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey can continue to develop and then Belcher and Any Studebaker can build on all the progress they have made this season, all of a sudden the Chiefs front seven look pretty nasty. Add in a few very talented corners and (hopefully) a top tier safety in the draft and we just might see Kansas City put a ferocious defense on the field for the first time in recent history.
Last night the San Diego Chargers placed RT Jeromy Clary on IR and signed veteran Jon Runyan. It turns out, Runyan and the Chargers had been going back and forth for some time.
Immediately after Sunday’s game in Denver, when a preliminary diagnosis regarding Clary’s left ankle was given to General Manager A.J. Smith, the team contacted Runyan, sources said yesterday.
A contract was offered before the team’s plane took off for San Diego on Sunday night, terms were agreed upon Monday afternoon and Runyan signed the contract upon arriving at Chargers Park early last night, the sources said.
“We have always held Jon Runyan in high regard,” Smith said last night. “We are fortunate, due to our circumstances, that Jon was still available. He brings a wealth of experience to the Chargers. He is a great competitor and will always bring a physical, nasty temperament to his game.”
The plan is for Brandyn Dombrowski to start in Clary’s place Sunday against Kansas City and for at least another game while Runyan gets acquainted with the Chargers’ system. Runyan, who owned the San Diego Riptide of arenafootball2 for its final season in 2005, is expected to start at some point.
Desiring depth at tackle, Smith had personally wooed Runyan before this season. But Runyan declined to sign.
“We offered Jon a job in early September,” Smith said. “But at that time he respectfully declined. I talked to him on the phone and recruited hard, but I must have done a real poor job. It just happened he was available and accepted the second offer.”
You can do a whole lot worse than Runyan when it comes to filling a whole at tackle.