Archive for Thursday, October 19, 2006

Welbourn could be back

Chiefs offensive tackle expected to practice

October 19, 2006


— Offensive tackle John Welbourn, who was suspended for the first six weeks of the season, reportedly will practice with the Kansas City Chiefs next week.

Welbourn has missed 10 games in two years for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He retired in June but later asked for reinstatement and was suspended for six games this season.

After sitting out a four-game suspension at the beginning of last season for the same reason, Welbourn wound up starting nine games for Kansas City and was an important part of a 10-6 season.

The lineman is eligible to return Oct. 23, and the Chiefs will have a two-week commissioner's exemption to determine his physical status.

The Chiefs could make use of an experienced lineman.

The unexpected retirement of left tackle Willie Roaf on the eve of training camp tore another hole in their offensive line, which has long been a strength.

Kyle Turley, signed to compete for the right-tackle spot Welbourn vacated, was quickly switched to the left side. But Turley has struggled with a back injury.

There might also be a concern about Welbourn's physical shape. He missed all of training camp and has not been practicing with the team.

The Chiefs hold his rights for the next three years.


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