After starring at Kansas State, Ryan Lilja signed with the Chiefs but was snatched up by the Indianapolis Colts when Kansas City tried to put him on the practice squad. After six productive seasons in Indy, including a Super Bowl victory, the Colts released Lilja leading him to come back home to Kansas City. Neither side seems to have a good reason why the guard was sent packing.
“It was just kind of one of the things that happen,” Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell said, declining to be specific. “It’s kind of the nature of the business and how things work out.
“He gave us some great years of service and did a tremendous job for us.”
“Lilja was one of our guys,” Indianapolis defensive end Dwight Freeney said. “You’re always kind of surprised when you see a guy that’s been there and been there and been there and (then) he’s not there.
“We miss how he was around the locker room, his camaraderie with the guys, his play on the field. There are some guys you definitely miss, and Ryan is definitely one of those.”
“I still don’t understand, and I’m sure he’s still confused as to why he’s not there anymore,” Chiefs guard Brian Waters said, “especially based off how some of their guys are performing now. But I’m glad he’s on our team. I’m glad we were able to benefit from that.”
Of all the moves that Scott Pioli has made since coming to Kansas City, bringing Lilja back has to be up there as one of the easiest. A player that never should have left was able to step right in and stabilize an offensive line that was spotty at best last season.
Better yet, we aren’t talking about a 37 year old on his last legs. At 28, Lilja could end up holding down right guard for the next 5-7 years.