Archive for Saturday, April 21, 2001

Kansas City swaps pick for Green

Chiefs also sign Brister as backup quarterback

April 21, 2001

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— Dick Vermeil and the Kansas City Chiefs finally landed Trent Green, acquiring the quarterback from St. Louis on Friday night.

Vermeil, who coached Green in St. Louis, had been trying to get the 29-year-old veteran since Elvis Grbac became a free agent and threw the franchise into a quarterback crisis.

The Chiefs sent their first-round pick, the 12th overall selection in today's draft, to St. Louis. The Rams gave the Chiefs their fifth-round choice, and agreed not to match the Chiefs' offer sheet to wide receiver-kick returner Tony Horne.

"Trent Green, when healthy, will make more contributions to the success of this organization than any first-round pick that's out there," Vermeil said.

Horne signed an offer sheet with the Chiefs this week. The Rams, who initially said they would match the offer, decided to use Horne as a deal-closer.

"This deal probably could have been done a long time ago if we had been absolutely sure of Trent Green's health," Vermeil said.

Green is rehabbing a knee injury and may not be ready until shortly before training camp in July. He has two years left on his contract.

"It's a risk but it's not reckless," Vermeil said. "If I didn't know Trent Green like I know him, we probably would not have done it.

"But we know this kid. We know the doctors that worked on him. We feel that later we're going to have a sound, healthy football player."

The Chiefs, who had already given the Rams their second-round pick as compensation for signing Vermeil, will have two choices in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh rounds.

Green missed all of the 1999 season with a knee injury, losing his starting job to Kurt Warner, who was voted NFL and Super Bowl MVP that season. But he had become a favorite of Vermeil and offensive coordinator Al Saunders, who was on Vermeil's St. Louis staff and has joined him in Kansas City.

Green replaced an injured Warner last year in a loss to Kansas City and was 145-for-240 for 2,063 yards until Warner returned late in the season. Green had 16 TD passes and five interceptions.

Vermeil also said the Chiefs would probably sign free-agent running back Priest Holmes.

Green is especially suited to the more wide-open offense Vermeil and Saunders are installing, perhaps even more suited than Grbac, who signed with Baltimore.

"Within this offensive scheme, I'd like to think he can run it better because he's been in it longer," Vermeil said. "But I also believe Elvis would have been very good in it."

Earlier Friday, the Chiefs signed quarterback Bubby Brister to a one-year deal. Brister, 38, has spent 14 NFL seasons with Minnesota, Denver, the New York Jets, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Brister is 37-38 in 75 starts, completing 1,207 of 2,212 passes for 14,445 yards with 81 TDs and 78 interceptions.

Brister's most extensive action came with Denver in the Broncos' 1998 Super Bowl championship run when he played in seven games, with four starts, in place of an injured John Elway. In that stretch, he completed 78 of 131 passes for 986 yards, with 10 TDs and three interceptions.

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