View Full Version : Chiefs Rand: Back to the future

07-03-2008, 07:11 AM

Back to the future
Jul 03, 2008, 3:21:22 AM by Jonathan Rand - FAQ

Who could have known that the Chiefs were helping to start a trend when they brought back linebacker Donnie Edwards last season after his five-year stint in San Diego?

Edwards was an important part of the Chiefs defense under head coaches Marty Schottenheimer and Gunther Cunningham, but was allowed to leave in free agency after 2001, Dick Vermeil’s first season here. The Chiefs came to regret that decision because their defenses kept collapsing.

While Edwards’ return to Kansas City seemed a curiosity, similar reunions are becoming old hat. ESPN.com just cited five other players returning to their old teams for 2008 – running back Warrick Dunn in Tampa Bay, quarterback Trent Green in St. Louis, defensive end Jevon Kearse and wide receiver Justin McCareins in Tennessee, and Dominic Rhodes in Indianapolis.

It’s become somewhat common for NFL players to sign ceremonial contracts just so they can retire from the teams closest to their hearts. But these five players, like Edwards, have been brought back to contribute. They’re a lot cheaper to sign, though generally not as productive, as they were when they left.

Most of them have evolved from impact players to role players. Yet coaches who’ve seen them at their best – and who may know them best – believe they can still help their old teams win.

Rhodes, 29 and just a season removed from a 113-yard rushing performance in the Colts’ Super Bowl victory over the Bears, was released by the Raiders once they drafted Darren McFadden. Rhodes should have no problem resuming his duties of splitting carries with Joseph Addai.

The Chiefs brought back Edwards in 2007 because they needed improvement at weak-side linebacker and they still had the mindset of a contender. Now he’s 35, still starting and finds himself one of the rare veterans to survive Herm Edwards’ rebuilding program.

Teams bringing back familiar faces this season would be satisfied to get as much help as the Chiefs got from Edwards a year ago. He was the team’s second-leading tackler and his professionalism was appreciated in the locker room, especially by young defensive players.

Intangibles are key considerations for bringing back former players. Dunn throughout his career has been one of the league’s most solid citizens and a strong locker room presence. Green for six seasons gave the Chiefs everything they could ask from a team leader.

Even in cases where a returning player has had off-the-field issues – Rhodes was suspended four games last year for violating the NFL alcohol and substance abuse policy and Kearse since his re-signing has been arrested for DUI – a former employer should have an informed opinion on whether to give him the benefit of the doubt.

For re-signed players, transitions back to old haunts should be smooth. Edwards was reunited with Cunningham, his coordinator or head coach during his first five years with the Chiefs. Of this year’s reunion group, all except Dunn return to familiar coaches or systems.

Green, who was signed to back up Rams starter Marc Bulger, rejoins Al Saunders, who coached the wide receivers during Green’s previous stop in St. Louis, and was his coordinator for five years with the Chiefs.

Green already understands Saunders’ playbook and what to expect on game day, during practice and in the film room. Which is why coaches have a high comfort level with players whose work they’ve once appreciated, and hope to appreciate again.

Yet, coaches and fans alike need to be realistic. A one-time star returning to his NFL roots can, indeed, go home again. He just can’t magically wipe away the years.

07-03-2008, 07:46 AM
Donnie + Gunther = SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah baby!!!

07-03-2008, 07:59 AM
after 19 season
Carl starts a trend
and that's as good as it gets

07-03-2008, 11:48 AM
Donnie + Gunther = SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah baby!!!