Drummond Set To Take Over KC Return Duties

There was a new player on the practice field for the Chiefs Sunday afternoon. With the first set of roster cuts looming on Tuesday, the Chiefs made an addition that could help bolster their special teams, signing NFC All-Pro kick returner Eddie Drummond to a one-year deal.

Last Thursday, Drummond was a member of the Detroit Lions. But he was called into the front office and moments later was packing his bags as his agent took calls from prospective new employers.

Before coming to Kansas City on Saturday for a physical, he met with Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden, and considered a contract with the Buccaneers. But he passed up Florida, because he felt Kansas City offered the best fit for his skills.

The Chiefs have been keeping on eye on Drummond since rumors began to swirl about his possible release before the start of Detroit's training camp. The Lions - who aren't masters of strong personnel moves - released him, thinking they were better off with Troy Walters and Aveion Cason sharing the return duties.

Drummond said he was surprised he wasn't cut a year ago, when Detroit's new coaching staff took root. Instead, he signed a new deal before the start of last season, but apparently that didn't matter to the Lions.

The Chiefs are still in search of a player to take over the return duties vacated by Dante Hall when he was traded to the St. Louis Rams in April.

In training camp the Chiefs have used a plethora of returners: Ean Randolph, Chris Hannon, Jeff Webb, Samie Parker and Justin Phineese. Now with Drummond in the mix, it appears he'll be the man who will return both kicks and punts for the Chiefs this season.

After Sunday's practice, Chiefs special teams coach Mike Priefer was all smiles with the addition of Drummond. He's familiar with the five-year veteran after his father, Chuck Priefer, coached him over the last 10 years.

"He brings experience and a lot of production," said Priefer. "We heard a rumor that he might be cut in Detroit. We've been biding our team and waiting. Our personnel people did a great job watching the waiver wire, and as soon as he became available, we jumped on it."

Last season Hall struggled in Kansas City because Priefer's return style is based on setting up wedges. At times, Hall outran those wedges or wasn't patient enough. Hall was all cuts and moves. Drummond said he's far more physical, and would rather wait on the wedge to do their job before blasting up the middle.

"It's something that I've had naturally," said Drummond. "When there is a seam, I'll blast through it. I'm going to run full speed. That's why when I was a Pro Bowler in Detroit, I was able to get so many returns."

The timing of this move shows the Chiefs are anything but set in regards to special teams, because both Randolph and Phineese were long shots to make the team at their respective positions of wide receiver and cornerback.

"We would not have brought (Drummond) here if we didn't think he could be the guy," said Priefer. "He's my type of guy. He has great lower body strength, and he can make people miss."

That's something Chiefs fans might get to see this Thursday night when the Rams host the Chiefs in the final preseason game. Drummond said he wanted to play the entire game, and head coach Herm Edwards said after practice he anticipates Drummond will see plenty of playing time against St. Louis.