Chiefs Nearing Roster Decisions

Posted Sep 3, 2011

The Chiefs must clear 27 roster spaces by 5 PM September 3rd

Late Saturday afternoon, the Chiefs will unveil the first edition of the team’s 53-man roster – emphasis on first.

With the bottom of NFL rosters in constant motion, a player (or two) may make the initial list only to be released less than 24 hours later. The end of each preseason in the Scott Pioli/Todd Haley era has seen a post-cut waiver claim. The Chiefs claimed T Ryan O’Callaghan from New England in 2009 and NT Anthony Toribio from Green Bay last season.

In those instances, T Barry Richardson and WR (now CB) Quinten Lawrence got the unwelcome call after initially making the squad.

The Chiefs must clear 27 roster spaces by 5:00 PM (CST) Saturday. Multiply that total by 32 teams and 864 moves will occur before the deadline as team’s decrease rosters from 80 players to 53.

With several players missing more than a week of practice, a trip to injured reserve is likely to be part of the transaction mix. The Chiefs placed that designation on O’Callaghan earlier this week. Of course, there will a surprise or two as well. There always is.

A lack of season-ending injuries last season, paired with a hot start, infused the Chiefs initial 53-man roster with remarkable staying power. In total, 46 players who originally made the roster finished the year on Kansas City’s 53-man list.

In 2009, only 36 of the original 53 were on the active roster when the season ended. These were the seven exceptions last season.

- WR Quinten Lawrence was released 24 hours after making the 53-man roster to clear space for NT Anthony Toribio, who was claimed off waivers from Green Bay. After clearing waivers, Lawrence joined the practice squad. He was promoted back to the 53-man roster in late December.

- OLB Cameron Sheffield was placed on injured reserve following a preseason neck injury. The Chiefs didn’t officially end Sheffield’s rookie campaign until mid-September. Veteran OLB Charlie Anderson was signed.

- DE Alex Magee was traded to Tampa Bay in mid-October after appearing in two games. The Chiefs signed DE Atiyyah Ellison to take Magee’s place.

- WR Jeremy Horne made the Chiefs out of camp, but was released in late October to make room for fellow rookie free agent WR Verran Tucker. Horne went to the practice squad after clearing waivers.

- LB Justin Cole was inactive for 11 games after making the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent. He was eventually released in early December to make room for veteran CB Mike Richardson when the Chiefs were dinged up in the secondary. Cole joined the practice squad after clearing waivers.

- CB Jackie Bates started his first career game in place of an injured Brandon Flowers at Seattle, but landed on injured reserve shortly afterward. QB Tyler Palko was promoted from the practice squad to fill the roster space.

- DB Donald Washington was placed on injured reserve prior to the Chiefs playoff game against Baltimore. Veteran WR Kevin Curtis was signed.

Also, just because a player is cut doesn’t mean they’re unlikely to return to the organization. Seven players released in last year’s final cut down were back in camp with the Chiefs this year. Those players were: DL Dion Gales, OL Bobby Greenwood, G/C Darryl Harris, QB Tyler Palko, S Ricky Price, WR Verran Tucker and OLB Pierre Walters.

Three of those players came back to join the 53-man roster later in the 2010 season. Those players were Tucker, Palko and Price.

Then, there’s the eight-man practice squad that will form on Sunday; a place where teams may spend time developing young players who aren’t on the active roster. Noteworthy practice squad alums include RB Todd McNair (1989), WR J.J. Birden (1990), WR Willie Davis (1990-91), LB Tracy Simien (1990), DE Pellom McDaniels (1992), WR Danan Hughes (1993), OL Tom Barndt (1995), TE Billy Baber (2001), S Shaunard Harts (2001), DE R-Kal Truluck (2002), WR Chris Horn (2003-04), LB Rich Scanlon (2004), RB Jackie Battle (2007-08), T Barry Richardson (2009) and WR Verran Tucker (2010).

Here’s the deal with the practice squad under rules of the new CBA – it’s open to players who fall into one of the below groups that haven’t served more than two previous seasons on a practice squad.

1) Players who do not have an Accrued Season of NFL experience (an Accrued Season is gained when a player is on the 53-man roster for six or more games in a single season).

2) Free agents who were on the Active List for fewer than nine games during their only Accrued Season(s) (the Active List is the 45-man gameday roster, which has been increased to 46 players in 2011).

An important thing to note is that players with one Accrued Season aren’t ineligible for the practice squad. They must only meet one of the two above requirements. This is why Quinten Lawrence was allowed to join the practice squad last season despite being on the 53-man roster for 11 games and logging an Accrued Season as a rookie (he was only on the active list for six of those 11 games).

Since training camp began in late July, everything has happened so fast. Here’s to the final weekend without regular season football!

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