Bowe, new additions give Chiefs new look in Week 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has made his much-needed return to the Kansas City Chiefs after serving his weeklong suspension following an arrest last November.
He wasn’t the only player who wasn’t there a week ago.
After getting routed by Tennessee in their season-opener, and losing Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson and starting defensive tackle Mike DeVito to season-ending injuries, the Chiefs were forced to frantically retool ahead of Sunday’s game in Denver.
Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, who spent the past four seasons with the Broncos, signed on Monday, while linebacker Jerry Franklin was promoted from the practice squad.
The Chiefs also turned over half of their practice squad in the search for help.
“We’ve brought some new people in here and we’ll see how they do,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. “We’ll just see. I can’t tell you play time and all that other stuff. We have to give them a couple practices here and get some time under their belt.”
The Chiefs also expect to get cornerback Marcus Cooper back from an ankle injury, though the return of Bowe to an offense that struggled mightily last Sunday is the biggest headline.
Bowe was pulled over for speeding last year and was arrested after police found a bag with his wallet, driver’s license and two container of suspected marijuana. He later pleaded guilty to amended charges of defective equipment and littering, and his attorney said there was no admission of guilt for the marijuana charge, which was dismissed.
He was still suspended one game under the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, a 26-10 loss to the Titans in which quarterback Alex Smith threw for 202 yards with three interceptions. Bowe was not available in the locker room during the brief time it was open to reporters, but Smith was clearly pleased to have one of his biggest playmakers back on the field.
“He’s a real weapon,” Smith said. “He’s the type of player that contributes everywhere, in all areas of the field in all situations.”
Bowe was slowed by finger and quad injuries in training camp, and Reid said it could take a bit for him to get up to speed. But he was bouncing around the practice field like nothing was amiss when the team began stretching for Wednesday’s workout.
“Dwayne has been a big part of the offense here since he’s been here, and he was last year,” Reid said. “He’s an important part of that, something the quarterback has a lot of trust in. He’s always got a pretty good chunk of the offense in any game week.”
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, there are even more changes.
Vickerson was productive last season until a hip injury shelved him for the rest of the Broncos’ Super Bowl run. He rehabbed during the offseason and participated in training camp, but he was ultimately among the casualties on the final day of roster cuts.
Now, Vickerson gets to face his former team in his first game with the Chiefs.
“Life in the NFL, that’s all. Only thing you can do is control what you can control,” he said. “That’s all I was trying to do. Go out and play hard and show I was healthy. Business is business. End of the day, I landed here. I’m happy, just ready to go.”
Vickerson will likely take over for DeVito, who ruptured his Achilles tendon last Sunday. But it remains to be seen who replaces Johnson, who sustained the same injury eight plays earlier.
James-Michael Johnson and Josh Mauga have slid into the starting lineup, and the Chiefs moved Franklin from the practice squad to provide greater depth at inside linebacker.
“It’s always bad to lose a guy like Derrick. You can’t really replace him,” James-Michael Johnson said. “I just hope to play as hard as I can and help out the team.”
The one benefit of all the new faces? Perhaps the Broncos won’t know what’s coming.
“It’s hard to say what the adjustments are and what will happen,” Denver quarterback Peyton Manning said. “I have a lot of respect for Derrick. I’ve played against him a long time, going back to my time in Indianapolis. I was watching on TV and hate to see that kind of injury. But any time you lose that quality of player, someone needs to step up.”