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Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2005

Chiefs’ Roaf still ailing, doubtful Sunday

September 29, 2005

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— Pro Bowl left tackle Willie Roaf, whose absence clearly has hurt Kansas City's offense, likely will miss Sunday's game against Philadelphia as he rests his injured left hamstring.

The 10-time Pro Bowler was injured in the first half of the Chiefs' victory over the New York Jets on opening day.

The Chiefs' offense, one of the most potent in the NFL the past three seasons, has sputtered without him. Backup Jordan Black struggled Monday, and quarterback Trent Green took a beating during a 30-10 loss at Denver.

Green has thrown only one touchdown pass in three games.

"I'm not giving up on Sunday. But right now I can't take off and run," Roaf said Wednesday. "I'm still dragging that leg."

Roaf said he saw a doctor again Wednesday morning and was feeling better.

"I had a pretty good sprain on that hamstring. All the blood's out of my leg, but I can't get out there and force my leg to do something and then end up hurting myself down the road," he said.

"It's a very frustrating situation. But the guys understand I want to be out there. We've got a good football team, and guys are going to have to pull together if I can't go. I'll be out there when I can. And they know that. It's hard."

With little experience at left tackle and in the glare of a harsh spotlight, Black is stepping in for one of the game's best at that position. He began the season at right tackle and had to make the emergency switch during the Jets game.

The spotlight glares even brighter because of the caliber of player he's being asked to replace.

"From what I hear, I guess it's supposed to put pressure on me," Black said. "How many people in NFL history can be like Willie Roaf? There's maybe two or three guys in the history of the league that are on his level. I mean, there's not a lot of people that can do what Willie does."

Adding to his miserable night at Denver, ABC commentator John Madden even got his name wrong, referring to him as "Jason Black."

The humor of Madden's gaffe seemed lost, however, on the third-year pro, who was drafted in the fifth round out of Notre Dame.

"I think the mistakes that are made anywhere on the field are put under the microscope when you lose," Black said. "If we'd gone to Denver and won and made the same amount of mistakes, nobody would be saying anything about anybody on the team. It's just one of those situations that happens every so often, and everything a team does gets put under the microscope.

"Every play that we've run in the past gets questioned and second-guessed. That's just what happens."

There have also been problems at right tackle, where Kevin Sampson and Mike Bober have alternated since Black was shifted to the left side of what for several years has been one of the league's top blocking units. Three starters - guards Will Shields and Brian Waters and Roaf - all went to the Pro Bowl last year.

Roaf can do little to help his beleaguered backup.

"Jordan's going to get better every week," Roaf said. "The problem is, Jordan was moving around from right to left. He played good at right tackle, and we had four guys solidify. But any time you throw two new tackles in there, it changes a lot of things. We had that line intact for four guys across the board for the last three years.

"It's a tough deal for Jordan. He's doing the best he can. He's playing hard. He's doing good. He's learning right now on the run. We all go through that."

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