Archive for Sunday, September 14, 2008

Former LSU teammates now gridiron enemies

September 14, 2008

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— For three years they were teammates and good friends. One starred on offense while the other supplied championship-caliber defense for one of the most successful college football programs in the land.

Now they're very young and very promising players at a higher level, seeking their niche on two of the worst teams in the NFL.

That Kansas City and Oakland are old rivals probably means very little this week to Glenn Dorsey and JaMarcus Russell. Besides trying to win when the Chiefs host the Raiders at noon today, they'll also be renewing an old acquaintance that dates back to a happy time when they faced each other day after day during practice at LSU.

"That's my partner," said Dorsey, the Chiefs' highly touted rookie defensive tackle. "But hopefully he won't do too good here."

Dorsey, the overall No. 5 pick in the 2008 draft, will be making his second NFL start and his first at home. Russell, the overall No. 1 pick of 2007, will be making his third start for the Raiders. It'll also be his first road start, and in a stadium that's historically unkind to young quarterbacks.

"I'm going to call him tonight," Dorsey said after a midweek practice. "We're going to talk it up. We're enemies come (today). But after the game we'll be cool again."

Russell, 25-4 as LSU's starting quarterback, was a valued adviser to Dorsey when he was going through the draft. Both had high hopes the Raiders, with the fourth overall selection, would reunite two Louisiana pals. But Oakland went for running back Darren McFadden, leaving Dorsey for the lineman-hungry Chiefs.

"Whatever it takes to get you ready for a game, you get ready," Dorsey said. "If it's me being bitter 'cause the Raiders didn't pick me, then that's just what it will be. Whatever it takes to get you going, do it."

Russell's pro career got a late start because of a lengthy holdout. But he threw two touchdown passes last week in a 41-14 season-opening loss to Denver. Dorsey had less than a spectacular debut with K.C. last week, getting credit for only one tackle in a 17-10 loss at New England.

"I know he's a hard worker. He's going up against much more experienced guys," Russell said of Dorsey. "You have to keep fighting, and that he does. It's going to be a lot of fun. I just can't wait until it happens and the day comes."

Dorsey grins broadly when asked if his familiarity with an old friend might provide an advantage.

"I practiced with him for three years," Dorsey said. "I think I've got a little edge."

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