Greg Wesley's prospects for retaining his starting strong safety job, one he has held in Kansas City since his 2000 rookie season, were simple. He could stay at strong safety and try to beat out Sammy Knight, the new free-agent acquisition from Miami who has been one of the league's most prolific interceptors over the past five seasons. Or he could move over to the free safety position, the job held by his long-time mentor Jerome Woods.
Wesley will attempt the transition, even if that means jeopardizing not only Woods' starting job, but possibly his outstanding 10-year career with the Chiefs.
"That's the National Football League -- guys change positions all the time. Corners to safeties, safeties to corners -- you've got to be versatile," Wesley said after two days of working in the same safety tandem with Knight during the Chiefs' spring on-field coaching sessions. "There are differences in assignments between strong and free safety in this system, but it's nothing I can't handle."
Beyond that, the offseason acquisitions of Knight and Patrick Surtain added an obvious talent infusion that Wesley could sense even in early spring workouts.
"The acquisitions we made were good," he said. "We've got a good corps of guys now, and the whole thing will play itself out. I have no control over it. Right now I'm in there, so I'll take it from there."
It hurt, though, that Woods was not "in there" in the early going. Having essentially missed half of his last three seasons with two different injuries, the 32-year-old Woods did not attend the opening week of coaching sessions, and his absence raised some eyebrows. The possibility of a June 1 release cannot be discounted, even for a long-standing team leader who played in the Pro Bowl after the 2003 season.
"Jerome Woods is an outstanding young man who has never been a problem in
this organization," said Vermeil, who hopes to see Woods in action today. "I was told he had some personal problems. I just think the timing of those problems is bad. He ought to be here."
Thus far that hasn’t happened and Woods could have played his last down for the Chiefs.
Priest Holmes missed the first day of the on-field sessions, but was present on Day 2 and running well -- to the casual eye, at least -- in his first two workouts. Holmes missed the last half of the '04 campaign after spraining his medial collateral ligament. Though the injury healed without surgery, his anticipated four-game absence became an eight-game one. He stepped on a football field for the first time since last Nov. 7 -- a 6 1/2 month
absence -- for the first time on Wednesday, May 18.
"There will always be pain after all the hits I've taken over the years," the Chiefs three-time Pro Bowl running back said when asked if he was experiencing any discomfort. "But, I'll be ready. Whatever it takes to be on the field, I'll do that."
Tony Gonzalez will not take part in the organized team activities or the June mini-camp while recovering from offseason surgery on his injured foot. But he is working out in the weight room, he is watching the on-field coaching sessions and he is promoting his upcoming TV appearances in a series for the Spike network and a segment on MTV's "Cribs" in which his southern California beach house will be featured.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Don't let Willie Roaf run free out there." – Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, angrily admonishing his linebackers for not jamming massive tight end Jason Dunn as the slow-moving pass blocking specialist -- hence, the Roaf reference -- got open in the Chiefs secondary.