Notes from around the division on free-agent players, new coaches, surgeries and keys to success for certain teams, as we compile Hot News from around the AFC West for the week of February 1st-February 8th.

The Denver Broncos:

Signs on as player-coach

Jimmy Spencer will serve as the first player-coach in the NFL since Dan reeves in 1971. Spencer, who has spent the past three seasons as a cornerback with the team, will continue playing if he makes the team and will also assist defensive backs coach David Gibbs.

Call him The Admiral

Linebacker Louis Green is headed to NFL Europe for some seasoning. He will play for Amsterdam after being chosen in the second round of the allocated players draft.

Headed for Europe

Quarterback Nick Rolovich has been allocated to NFL Europe, where he will play for the Rhein Fire this spring.

To sign new five year deal

ESPN reports that Bronco place kicker Jason Elam will sign a new five-year contract worth $9 million on Tuesday. The signing bonus is reported to be $2.675.

Elam was slated to become an unrestricted free agent and it was widely believed that his days as a Bronco might be nearing an end.

Denver designated Elam a "franchise" player last spring for a one-year contract but have failed to reach a long term contract until now.

Yet to decide on future

Shannon Sharpe brought leadership and some offensive punch to the Broncos, but he must decide if he wants to return for a 14th season. His contract ($755,000 in 2003) is still pretty cap friendly, and team owner Pat Bowlen said he wants him back. It's a good bet he'll return, though a TV job likely awaits.

The Kansas City Chiefs

Trade bait?

The team isn't trying to get rid of John Tait, but is reporting the Chiefs might be willing to listen to offers from team, like Houston, who might need to upgrade at left tackle. Tait played on the right side last season after Willie Roaf was acquired.

Competition next season?

The Chiefs are unlikely to re-sign Ray Crockett, which means a new nickel cornerback will be brought in. That could also put pressure on William Bartee to step up his game. "He's our starting cornerback," Vermeil said of Bartee in an interview with the Kansas City Star. "That doesn't mean somebody won't come up and beat you out. But we haven't seen the best of William Bartee. We're not signing anybody to take his job."

Europe bound

TE Dwayne Blakley has been allocated to play in NFL Europe this spring.

Still going strong

The line stayed in tact for all 16 games, which was a bit surprising, considering that Willie Roaf was coming back from ACL surgery in the final year of his illustrious career at New Orleans. He may not be the Willie Roaf of the 1990s, but he's still plenty good, especially in pass protection where he gave up two sacks all year. He and Will Shields won Pro Bowl berths, and not just on reputation.

Chiefs future uncertain

Snoop Minnis missed most of the season while recovering from an offseason foot injury, and Sylvester Morris missed it all -- the second straight year of inactivity because of a knee injury. Their futures in KC are uncertain.

The Oakland Raiders

Breathing fire

Tight end Ryan Prince will play for the Barcelona Dragons in the NFL Europe this spring. He was a third-round pick in the allocated players draft.

Great Scot!

Linebacker Algie Atkinson will be playing football in NFL Europe this spring after being selected by Scotland in the third round of the allocated players draft.

Doubts validity of Robbins story

"Everybody's confused," said Middleton, who did not specifically make reference to Robbins' diagnosis during the interview. "We never knew B-Rob as a depressed guy. He always seemed fine to us. When the news came out in the media, it was like people on the team were hearing it for the first time. "It's kind of shocking. Is it true or is his agent doing some covering up of some of the problems or issues that he had? We're still on the fence right now. Everybody's trying to figure out what's going on."

Europe bound

Offensive tackle Justin Bland has been allocated to NFL Europe. He was the ninth overall pick by Scotland in the allocated players draft.

Apologizes for Super Bowl episode

"Barret would like to express his remorse and deep sadness for the events surrounding the Super Bowl," Robbins' agent Drew Pittman said in the statement. "He knows many people have been hurt by his actions, including his family, his teammates, the Raider organization, the Raider Nation, and the game of football."

Hasn't made retirement decision yet

DE Trace Armstrong ($2.2 million) ended the last two seasons with a torn Achilles and a torn groin. He hasn't made a decision, but would have to be a candidate for retirement at age 37.

Time with Raiders done?

S Anthony Dorsett's deal takes a hike from $750,000 to $3.05 million. He was a starter late in the season but has had a streaky career and there is no reason to keep both him and Rod Woodson.

Hot News compiled from, Silver & Black Illustrated Online

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