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Fried Meat Ball!
06-20-2005, 05:27 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/11937841.htm

Roaf draws raves from Vermeil

Tackle’s hard work gives Chiefs coach encouragement

He may move so gingerly that he looks as if he’s in pain, but tackle Willie Roaf did enough during minicamp to make coach Dick Vermeil feel that all is well with the Chiefs’ aging offensive line.

Roaf, a 10-time Pro Bowler, was working out on his own before the weekend minicamp. But he suited up for three days of workouts and received kudos from Vermeil, who called Roaf one of the biggest surprises of the offseason.

“I am amazed at Willie Roaf,” Vermeil said. “Absolutely amazed. He looks every bit as explosive and powerful these last three days as he did at any time during the season last year.

“It’s hard work, and that’s paying off for him. I think he can play left tackle every bit as well as he did last year and he’s a year older. That’s exciting for me, and I think it’s exciting for him.”

Roaf and fellow linemates Will Shields and Brian Waters missed chunks of the Chiefs’ offseason workouts. Shields is resting his arthritic knees; Waters stayed away from the offseason workouts to spend time with his kids in Texas.

Waters, who Vermeil said looked “a little heavy” when he arrived earlier this month, promised his coach he’d be in shape for training camp.

“And I trust him,” Vermeil said. “I think he’ll be ready to go. I know Will Shields will be. So I feel a little bit better about the overall offensive line.”

■ FREDDIE WATCHES: Maybe Freddie Mitchell should have asked for a different number. The newly acquired receiver showed up for Sunday’s workout wearing No. 80, which hasn’t exactly been a charmed jersey in June.

First, it was Johnnie Morton’s number. He was cut on June 2. Then free-agent receiver Az-Zahir Hakim wore the number Wednesday after he agreed to a deal with the Chiefs. The next day, Hakim had second thoughts and was gone.

But Mitchell promises to stick around, and he stood on the sidelines and watched the final day of minicamp. After the workout, Vermeil said Mitchell will have a lot of competition. He said that Samie Parker has looked good enough to possibly be the No. 2 receiver, and that Richard Smith and some other young receivers also have been competitive.

“I’ve liked what I’ve seen from both of the kids from (NFL Europe),” Vermeil said. “Jeris McIntyre — he made a catch over there today, a big-time catch. And (John) Booth made one the other day.

“We’ve got Mitchell here, and Craphonso (Thorpe) has really improved. We’re going to have more people who can run and catch than we’ve ever had.”

■ CAN’T GET A BREAK: While the veterans retreated to their homes late Sunday at the end of minicamp, the rookies stayed behind. They’ll be in town for conditioning through Thursday.

“It’s a great group of young kids,” Vermeil said. “They’ve come a long ways.”