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Old 09-11-2006, 03:46 AM  
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Green’s injury sucks the life out of Chiefs

Green’s injury sucks the life out of Chiefs
Team must now rally around backup Damon Huard
By ELIZABETH MERRILL
The Kansas City Star
JOHN SLEEZER | THE KANSAS CITY STAR
Trent Green eluded Brian Simmons (left) in the third quarter, but he wasn’t so lucky as he ran toward the sideline and hit his head after a collision with Robert Geathers.

Carl Peterson almost seemed exasperated by the question. The Chiefs had just lost Trent Green because of a head trauma, and somebody asked Peterson whether he’d be shopping for another quarterback if Green is out for the year.

“That is very premature,” Peterson said.

Fact is, Kansas City expects its ironman quarterback to return, maybe after the bye week Oct. 1. Reality is, the Chiefs have very little experienced depth behind him. Veteran backup Damon Huard got the call as Green lay motionless on the ground, and coach Herm Edwards said Huard “did a pretty good job once he got going.”

But his biggest drive came when the game was well in hand, and Huard goes into Denver next week rusty and unproven, making his last start in Miami in 2000.

“I’m not going to worry about Denver today,” Huard said. “There will be a time for that this week. I’m going to think about Trent and his family, and that’s really what’s important. We’ll go to work on Denver probably tomorrow afternoon.”

The Chiefs have four quarterbacks, but the two others are rookies. Brodie Croyle suited up as the third quarterback Sunday; Casey Printers is on the practice squad. Both rookies showed their age in the preseason, and Huard was out for part of camp because of an ankle injury.

Peterson, visibly upset over Green’s injury, said his first priority Sunday was to get to Green’s wife, Julie, and update her on his condition. Green was awake late Sunday and moving his arms and legs.

Peterson said the doctors will decide when Green can return and that he’s comfortable with the Chiefs’ depth.

“We have three quarterbacks and one on practice squad,” Peterson said. “Some teams only have two.”

With Green at the controls, being a backup quarterback in Kansas City is kind of like being the Maytag repairman. He was never really needed. Todd Collins backed up Green for five years and threw only 27 passes in that time.

Collins signed with Washington in the offseason, elevating Huard to the No. 2 spot.

“We’ll be OK,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “We’re going to have to rally around Damon. We’re going to rally around him because we’ve got no choice.”

Huard said everything happened so fast Sunday. He completed 12 of 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown and was sacked four times. His easygoing demeanor could help next weekend at Denver, a place the Chiefs haven’t won at since the Gunther Cunningham era.

“You never know when you’re going to get out there and have to do your job,” Huard said.

“You’ve always got to be ready to play.”
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