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Old 11-13-2009, 02:45 PM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Gretz: A Remarkable Comeback … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

A Remarkable Comeback … Friday Cup O’Chiefs
November 13, 2009 - Bob Gretz |

Practice was over and Rudy Niswanger was in front of his locker, mixing up a protein drink for a little post-workout libation.

“Got to help the body,” Niswanger said as he took a little bit out of this bag and a little bit out of that bottle and mixed them together with some water.

Given Niswanger’s background and college degree in kinesiology and his perfect GPA at Louisiana State, it’s not hard to believe that whatever powders the Chiefs center was mixing gets the job done.

Last Sunday, just 14 days after suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Niswanger was back on the field, started and took every offensive snap for the Chiefs in Jacksonville. Generally, an MCL sprain keeps a player out anywhere from two to six weeks. Seldom does he return on the short side of that equation, especially return and play an entire game.

But Niswanger showed the Chiefs that he’s just a little bit different.

“Got to take your hat off to that guy,” head coach Todd Haley said. “That’s a pretty impressive comeback. That’s a sign of somebody who wants to be on the field, wants to be part of it. Those are the kind of guys we’re looking for.”

Niswanger is the kind of guy any and every business searches out. He’s a team player, a guy who works hard both physically and mentally and while he may not be the most physically gifted of players, the Louisiana native gets more out of his ability and his body than most NFL players.

Proving that he’s willing to follow the program as set up by Haley, Niswanger refused to talk about the injury and specifics. All season he’s been guarded about his words with the media, especially when it comes to the offensive scheme and injuries. It’s Niswanger trying to be a good soldier.

Unfortunately that doesn’t flesh out what a remarkable comeback he made. When Niswanger was helped off the Arrowhead Stadium field on October 25th and examined by Chiefs doctors, the prognosis was not good. Multiple ligament damage was expected and his wife Patricia was seen leaving the stadium with tears in her eyes. Those in the locker room after the game who had seen their teammate indicated that his season was over.

On Monday Niswanger went to see the Chiefs orthopedic doctors, who expected him to arrive with a swollen knee; generally that’s what happens with guys who suffer knee ligament damage. Instead, Niswanger showed up with only minimal swelling. That made it easier for the doctors to diagnosis just how bad the injury was and because they did not have to wait for the swelling to go down, they were able to do an arthroscopic procedure on him immediately.

Right there that saved a week in getting Niswanger back into action. Plus, the team was in its bye week, so there’s a week of rehab without missing a game. And, as he had learned while getting his degree at LSU, every person’s body is different. The same injury could keep a player out for a game, or for months.

While Niswanger has a high IQ, he also has a high football IQ. He learned early in his football career that there was a big difference between being hurt, and being injured.

“One, it comes with knowing your body,” Niswanger said. “Two, you play football you are going to get little nagging things. As you play longer, you learn to assess yourself. You know these are the skills I need to play the game, can I do those skills? Yes or no?

“Maybe I can’t do those skills, but I don’t need to do those. I’m not a receiver, so there are a lot of things I don’t have to worry about. I’m not a defensive lineman, so there are things I don’t have to do there.

“It just comes with knowing your body and once you’ve played the game long enough, you know what you can and cannot do.”

But every player strives for one thing: he wants to play. How tough is it for a player to be honest with himself and his team when it comes to where he is with an injury?

“You have to trust yourself,” said Niswanger. “If you played the game, you know how you should feel and know what needs to work. You aren’t helping yourself or your team if you aren’t honest with your assessment.”

Last Sunday, Niswanger’s return was helped when Jacksonville came out in a 4-3 defense, instead of the 3-4 they had used for most of the season. Wearing a brace on the knee, Niswanger did not have somebody pounding and pushing him head on all day. The Jaguars played an under 4-3, so generally there was a defensive tackle shaded in his alignment to the center’s left or right.

Niswanger was on the field because he was honest with himself, because it was important for him to be there, and because his body made it possible. It was the all important triangle of head, heart and guts that got Rudy Niswanger back on the field.

CHIEFS-RAIDERS GAME WILL BE BLACKED OUT IN BAY AREA

Just as their game last week against the Jaguars was not shown in Jacksonville, the Chiefs meeting with the Raiders on Sunday will not be shown in the Bay Area.

It’s the fourth consecutive TV blackout for the Raiders. Oakland’s season opener on a Monday night against the Raiders sold enough seats to be on live, but that’ the last time the Raiders were even close to reaching their number to lift the blackout.

The Raiders most recent home game against the New York Jets drew the smallest crowd at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum since the team returned from Los Angeles in 1995: 39,354. They had 45,602 for Denver and 49,642 when Philadelphia visited. With remaining home games after this week against Cincinnati, Washington and Baltimore, there’s a very good chance the Raiders will see seven of their eight regular season home games blacked out. They had six blackouts combined in the previous three seasons.

Since ‘95, the smallest Chiefs-Raiders crowd in Oakland was in 1999, when 48,632 were in the house. In the 13 other games they had more than 50,000 and in nine of those games they were over 60,000.

The Raiders say the current capacity of the Coliseum is 63,132.

SIGNINGS, INJURIES & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE

* FALCONS – head coach Mike Smith was fined $15,000 for his involvement in a sideline incident in last Sunday’s game against the Redskins. Also, Atlanta’s strength coach and former Chiefs assistant Jeff Fish was fined $2,500 for his involvement.
* REDSKINS – RB Clinton Portis will not play Sunday against the Broncos due to the concussion he suffered last week.
* TITANS – WR Justin Gage has broken bones in his transverse process and will several games.

FROM THE PAGES OF CHIEFS HISTORY


On November 13, 1960, the Dallas Texans beat the Denver Broncos 34-7 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. More details coming later today on this game from the franchise’s inaugural season.

On November 13, 1966, the Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins 34-16 at Municipal Stadium. A crowd of 34,063 came out to watch as QB Len Dawson threw three touchdown passes for the Chiefs and one for the Dolphins. Dawson found WR Otis Taylor for an 89-yard second quarter score, a 55-yard TD to WR Chris Burford and a 26-yard scoring pass to TE Fred Arbanas. Dawson hit 10 of 14 for 256 yards, and then there was the interception, picked off by Miami CB Jimmy Warren and returned 70 yards for a score. The Chiefs also got a TD from RB Bert Coan and two FGs by K Mike Mercer. Taylor caught four passes for 113 yards. The KC defense had six Interceptions, two each for CB Fred Williamson, S Johnny Robinson and S Bobby Hunt.

On November 13, 1977, the Chiefs lost to the Chicago Bears 28-27 at Soldier Field. Under sunny skies with a strong wind roaring off Lake Michigan, the Chiefs pushed the Bears to the final minute before falling in front of 49,543 fans. The Chiefs jumped out to a 17-0 first-half lead on one-yard TD runs by QB Mike Livingston and RB Ed Podolak. Jan Stenerud kicked a 37-yard FG. But the Bears roared back on the legs of Hall of Fame RB Walter Payton (right), who scored three touchdowns in the second half and ran for 192 yards in the game. Podolak put the Chiefs back on top with 29 seconds to play when he scored on a 14-yard run. A good kick return set up the Chicago offense in good field position and QB Bob Avellini hit a pair of passes, including a 37-yard touchdown throw to TE Greg Latta with three second to play. The PAT kick by Bob Thomas gave the Bears a victory.

On November 13, 1983, the Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-15 at Arrowhead Stadium. The KC defense dominated the game, sacking Bengals QB Ken Anderson seven times and picking off two of his passes. DE Mike Bell went head-to-head against LT Anthony Munoz and had three sacks. The others were from FS Deron Cherry with 1.5 sacks, DE Dave Lindstrom, LB Calvin Daniels and SS Lloyd Burruss had a half-sack. Burruss and CB Gary Green had interceptions. The Chiefs offensive scores came on a one-yard run by QB Bill Kenney and a TD pass of 21-yards from the quarterback to TE Willie Scott. K Nick Lowery hit a pair of FGs. Cincinnati’s only TD came on a five-yard TD pass from Anderson to WR Cris Collinsworth.

On November 13, 1988, the Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals 31-28 before a crowd of 34,614 at Arrowhead Stadium. A furious fourth quarter rally gave the Chiefs the victory. They were down 28-13 after Cincinnati’s Stanford Jennings returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score in the third quarter. The Chiefs scored the next 18 points. Nick Lowery kicked a 47-yard field goal, CB Albert Lewis had a safety after a blocked punt went through the end zone and RB Christian Okoye scored on a one-yard run. On the ensuing kickoff, RB James Saxon forced a Bengals fumble that was recovered by Lewis with 1:11 to play in the game. Lowery eventually hit a 39-yard game-winning FG. Okoye finished with 102 yards on 16 carries, while QB Steve DeBerg (left)
threw for 285 yards.

On November 13, 1994, the Chiefs lost to the San Diego Chargers 14-13 at Arrowhead Stadium. A crowd of 76,997 watched as the Chargers scored 14 second-half points to overcome the Chiefs 13-0 lead. FB Kimble Anders scored on a one-yard run, while K the kicker that shall go unnamedt kicked a pair of FGs. Then in the second half, the San Diego defense shutdown the Kansas City offense while Chargers QB Stan Humphries was throwing a pair of TD passes to gain the victory. QB Joe Montana threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice.
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Old 11-13-2009, 02:50 PM   #2
Blick Blick is offline
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You need more protein, Rudy.
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Old 11-13-2009, 02:58 PM   #3
Detoxing Detoxing is offline
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Im probably the only one on this board that hopes Rudy will do well at center. I'm rooting for the guy to become a good player.
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:14 PM   #4
Davechief Davechief is offline
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Unless he is drinking something that transforms him into Tim Grunhard this was a waste of an article by Gretz.
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:16 PM   #5
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Im probably the only one on this board that hopes Rudy will do well at center. I'm rooting for the guy to become a good player.
I think he is better than some give him credit for. I don't think it helps that he was asked to lose weight. He is a tall guy and struggles with leverage anyways. Lightening him up didn't help in my opinion.

He has eight more games to get it done.... I think he would make a better guard. I would like to see him at RT..... but, I agree that it is hard not to root for him.
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:17 PM   #6
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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Unless he is drinking something that transforms him into Tim Grunhard this was a waste of an article by Gretz.
This...
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:20 PM   #8
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i would hope every Chiefs fan wants the players on the roster to be better. We know that wont happen, but i would like them too.
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:56 PM   #9
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WTF? Like the guy is contributing like Willie Roaf or something?

All it was missing is a quote from Tom Cable about how the Raiders are preparing for a line featuring Niswanger at center.
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:38 PM   #10
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Im probably the only one on this board that hopes Rudy will do well at center. I'm rooting for the guy to become a good player.
You can root in one hand and crap in the other.

I rooted for Mike Sweeney to become healthy for the Royals, finally......never happened.

Not saying we should cut losses with the guy, personally I think he played well at RG last season. He would make an okay backup.

I just don't think he's good enough to start.
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:40 PM   #11
Micjones Micjones is offline
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Niswanger's not much of a Center. He's also not the worst Offensive Lineman who has played for this team the last few years, but that's another matter. I think he could be a pretty good Guard, but it doesn't look like he'll be given that chance anytime soon.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:26 PM   #12
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Im probably the only one on this board that hopes Rudy will do well at center. I'm rooting for the guy to become a good player.
I like Niswanger, and would love to see see him suddenly become a solid starting center, but the reality is that he just isn't good, and is constantly and consistently getting pushed into the backfield.

I do think, however, that he is a very capable guard.
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