Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2007

Chiefs’ Allen eager to return to field

Defensive end must sit out Kansas City’s first two games because of suspension

September 6, 2007

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— Football figures to be a lonely experience for Jared Allen the next couple of weeks.

Kansas City's suspended defensive end can be on the practice field. But only by himself. He'll be no different from millions of other football fans who are watching the action but wishing they could strap on the pads and play.

"It'll be tough," Allen said. "Because nobody loves playing football more than me."

While the rest of the Chiefs are running through plays and getting ready for their season opener at Houston on Sunday, Allen, according to terms of his suspension for multiple drunken-driving arrests, must not be anywhere around.

He's allowed to attend team meetings but not practice.

He can work out with strength and conditioning coaches and use team facilities the next two weeks. But he can't travel with the team or stay at the team hotel when they go to Houston and Chicago for the first two games.

Before and after each game, he's barred from the locker room.

It could be worse - much worse - for both Allen and the Chiefs. His off-the-field misplays first drew a four-game suspension. But taking everyone by surprise, including Allen and team officials, commissioner Roger Goodell rewarded the player's improved behavior and vow to stay sober by slicing the penalty in half.

"He's the only suspended player in the NFL that had his suspension reduced," said Chiefs president Carl Peterson. "As of this week, there were 19 players who had been suspended by the commissioner for this year, and I think Jared Allen's is the only two-game suspension."

In the meantime, Kansas City named its three captains on Wednesday - guard Brian Waters on offense, linebacker Donnie Edwards on defense and safety Jon McGraw on special teams.

Each position group voted separately on its own leader. The captains will have the option of wearing patches on their game uniforms.

"It's up to them," said head coach Herm Edwards. "When you think about it, it's a great honor to be a captain of your football team."

Edwards also said left tackle Damion McIntosh, who has not played since injuring a knee on Aug. 1, went through a full practice.

One player not in practice was defensive lineman Ron Edwards.

"Ron Edwards just had a little boy this morning," said Edwards. "He was stuttering and all nervous. I told him, 'Relax. You can't come to practice. You're OK.' He'll be fine."

Allen, at the Chiefs' urging, will be at every team meeting during his two-week suspension.

"I'm going to prepare as if I'm starting week one," he said. "My routine for the next two weeks isn't going to be any different than it absolutely has to be. I'm going to treat these next two weeks as though I'm preparing to play."

The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder led the NFL with six fumble recoveries last year and shows all the signs of a young player about to break into stardom.

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