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Old 05-03-2010, 12:21 AM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Babb: New Chief McCluster shows strength to make up for lack of size

New Chief McCluster shows strength to make up for lack of size
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

As much as the Chiefs might hope for one last growth spurt, or order Dexter McCluster to burn hours in the weight room, there’s a fact he has come to terms with.

“I can tell you one thing,” McCluster, a rookie slot receiver, said this weekend during Kansas City’s three-day rookie minicamp. “I’m 5-8 and 21 years old, so I don’t think I’m growing taller right now.”

The Chiefs drafted McCluster last weekend in the second round out of Mississippi. They like his speed and playmaking ability, and those skills remind observers of Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson and San Diego running back Darren Sproles. But like those players, it’s McCluster’s size that doesn’t seem a natural fit in the NFL.

McCluster is listed at 170 pounds, a weight that makes Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles — at 199 pounds — look like Hercules. Both Jackson and Sproles are each at least 10 pounds heavier than McCluster.

Now the Chiefs’ challenge is to try to add thickness to McCluster without sacrificing the speed and quickness that made him so enticing. Chiefs coach Todd Haley said that whatever happens next, McCluster already has proved that he possesses the mettle to hang in an NFL locker room.

“It takes special ability and character to make it at that size,” Haley said. “We feel he’s got the right combination of quickness, speed and strength, which is a key thing when you start talking about smaller receivers or backs.”

Haley compared McCluster to former New York Jets receiver Wayne Chrebet (5-10, 188 pounds) and former Chiefs and St. Louis kick returner Dante Hall (5-8, 187), players who overcame their diminutive statures with remarkable strength. Haley said he thought McCluster was a similar kind of player.

“Those are the things that you hear about him: He’s pound-for-pound the strongest guy at Mississippi,” Haley said.

McCluster admitted this weekend that this wasn’t the first time he’s been questioned about his size. It’s also not the first time he overcame those concerns and thrived. He played running back and receiver for the Rebels, catching 130 passes and rushing for 1,955 yards in four seasons. Haley said Friday that McCluster was one of the Chiefs’ highest-rated running backs and wide receivers on the team’s draft board when its turn came up early in the second round.

He was small for Southeastern Conference standards, too. Not that it affected his performance or confidence.

“There was never a time at Ole Miss that I doubted myself,” McCluster said. “All my life growing up, I’ve been a smaller guy and had to prove (myself) to people. It was pretty much the fuel to my success.”

Another thing that has fueled McCluster’s success is his willingness to work. He said he’d be up for extra work in the weight room or playing any position. He worked this weekend at running back, receiver and kick returner.

“We oriented him into multiple areas,” Haley said. “So it was important for us to see how he handled some of that: being in a different classroom, different meeting, different spots. We’re learning as much as they are, and it’s important.”

That’s not all.

“Hope he grows, too,” Haley said with a laugh.

Haley didn’t elaborate on the team’s plans to thicken McCluster before training camp, saying that the team will lean on first-year strength coach Mike Clark to design a program for McCluster.

Not that it matters, McCluster said.

“I want to make a name for myself,” he said. “Whatever they ask, you best believe I’m doing it.”
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:13 PM   #46
boogblaster boogblaster is offline
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I just hope he can return the ball back to the 40 every time ...
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:20 PM   #47
Mr. Laz Mr. Laz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boogblaster View Post
I just hope he can return the ball back to the 40 every time ...
i don't think they plan on him returning anything.

remember they drafted smurf #2 in the 2nd round as well to be the returner and nickleback ... oh yea and to be the 'best blitzer' in the league.


maybe they figure they need 2 smurfs ... 1 to return punts and 1 to return kickoffs because either one might get killed if they handle the ball too much.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:25 PM   #48
chiefzilla1501 chiefzilla1501 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laz View Post
i don't think they plan on him returning anything.

remember they drafted smurf #2 in the 2nd round as well to be the returner and nickleback ... oh yea and to be the 'best blitzer' in the league.


maybe they figure they need 2 smurfs ... 1 to return punts and 1 to return kickoffs because they might get killed if they handle the ball too much.
Two totally different returners. I'd be shocked if either does both jobs. McCluster is better suited for kick returns because he's faster and has the ability to make moves in the open field. Arenas is better suited for punt returns because he seems to have terrific instincts and great vision to see the field as the ball falls into his hands. When you watch Arenas, he's not that fast nor does he have flashy moves. But he seems to beat everybody because he's always moving to the right spots as soon as he catches the ball.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:34 PM   #49
TheGuardian TheGuardian is offline
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Ball players are ball players. I don't give a damn how tall or short they are if they kick ass on the field.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:35 PM   #50
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as long as this guy can make big plays out of nothing i will be happy, i think the fact that he can do just about everything from RB to WR to wildcat Qb is enough to strike fear into the opposing teams defense
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