Chiefs In a Lurch at Middle Linebacker

Kansas City starting middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell left the Chiefs locker room this afternoon on crutches after spraining his ankle.

Already behind the eight-ball at linebacker with the unlikely possibility that last years starter Mike Maslowski can take a snap this season, Kawika Mitchell sprained an ankle that will jeopardize his starting assignment on Saturday night against the Cleveland Browns.

It's not known how serious the injury is at this time but Kansas City now has to find someone to play the middle of their defense. Mitchell was leaving Arrowhead for an MRI and results should be available soon.

The injury occurred in the Chiefs afternoon practice on Wednesday and its not known how sever the injury is but the Chiefs have to be concerned. Back-up linebacker Fred Jones appears the likely candidate to take over the starting assignment as Monte Beisel has been slow to recover from an injury he sustained in River Falls.

Mitchell had been making steady progress since learning that Maslowski was not going to be returning to the field any time soon. As for Maslowski he is at a career crossroads after getting a second opinion on his injured knee.

If Maslowski wants to continue his NFL career; he must have another surgery that will keep him out the entire 2004 season. If he does not elect for the surgery, then his career and his spot on the Chiefs roster is in serious doubt.

If the Chiefs cut Maslowski, they likely would do so with the caveat of giving Maslowski an injury settlement. Still there is no guarantee that even if he has the surgery to fix the injured knee; that the Chiefs still won't cut him.

This past week the Jacksonville Jaguars cut veteran Tony Brackens after a season of nagging injuries. Brackens was unable to practice with the Jaguars but unlike Maslowski he just needs time to get better. I would not be surprised if the Chiefs took a look at Brackens. The Chiefs were well aware of the fact he was released by Jacksonville and he's the type of veteran that could help the defensive line.

In other Chiefs news, it appears the rookie defensive end Jared Allen is turning so many heads that its possible he could push veteran Vonnie Holliday out of a starting spot. Allen has surpassed the Chiefs expectations and could be at the top of the rotation to play opposite Eric Hicks.

R-Kal Truluck had a great game on Monday Night against the Rams and he has solidified the top defensive end spot along the Chiefs line. Truluck was impressive in rushing the passer as well as blowing up several running plays.

Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil was not happy with this afternoon's practice. According to the coach, it was very sloppy. It marked the first time that the team practiced in any kind of heat or humidity.


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