Kansas City Chiefs WR Jerheme Urban has spent his career bouncing from team-to-team, playing on four teams in seven-plus seasons. The journeyman told The Star’s Kent Babb that he’s ready to elevate his game.
“I’m not getting any younger,” said Urban, who caught 74 passes the last three seasons with Arizona. “I’m ready to make a step, careerwise.”
He has plenty to prove. Urban was undrafted out of Division III Trinity University in Texas when he signed in 2003 with Seattle, playing behind Jerry Rice and Bobby Engram.
Then he joined Dallas in 2006, albeit confined to the practice squad. It was Urban’s pluck that caught the attention of then-Cowboys assistant Todd Haley, who would later help bring Urban to Arizona and now with the Chiefs.
“He’ll do anything asked of him,” Haley said after Monday’s practice. “I don’t think we’ve seen the top end of Jerheme.”
That’s what the Chiefs are counting on, and for now, they’re willing to wait out Urban’s miscues. Urban admitted Monday that fringe players couldn’t withstand many mistakes, and that’s why Memorial Day weekend was so important for him. He said the time off allowed him to leave town and calm his nerves.
Urban said it was during the holiday weekend that he realized his job was to be a calming influence on Cassel and the Chiefs’ coaches; perfection wasn’t necessary.
“I have one of those personalities where I come in and try to please and do everything right,” he said. “Early on, I think I was trying to do things too perfectly, and it was slowing me down a little bit. If I made a mistake, it might have compounded it a little bit.
“You want to be a dependable guy. You want the quarterbacks and coaches to say, ‘Hey, this guy knows what he’s doing. He’s going to be there for us; he’s going to catch the ball.’ Early on, I think I was trying to prove that too much. So I just let the game come to me last week.”
After Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers, the Chiefs have no traditional wide receivers that are locks for playing time leaving Urban with a huge opportunity. And while under normal circumstances I would agree that fringe players cannot be mistake-ridden in camp, Urban has a fan in Haley and should be able to survive more mistakes than your normal third or fourth WR.
Rookie Dexter McCluster has the potential to deliver plenty of punch for the Chiefs and on the surface could allow for the team to carry one less receiver and/or running back due to his ability to handle both positions. But until Haley and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis know how McCluster handles the rigors of the NFL they won’t be quick to take any shortcuts.