Morton Practices as Roster Shrinks

What a difference a couple of days make for veteran wide receiver Johnnie Morton. With talks centering on a possible injury settlement for the former Detroit Lions receiver, he ran full speed today without pain but did not do anything other than catch a few passes. Still hope abounds he could return much sooner than expected.

Morton Returns to Practice Field as Roster Shrinks

Morton's timing is impeccable as the Chiefs are looking for a veteran receiver to fill the void after losing Marc Boerigter to a knee injury Saturday night against the Browns.

According to Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil, Johnnie Morton has a shot at not only making the roster this season but lining up against the Broncos for the season opener in Denver.

"Well, Achilles tendon things are much different than you normally deal with. You've got a sprained ankle, a strained knee, got a shoulder….Achilles tendon things are hard to predict and only the player can tell you how it is. All I know is last week it was tender to touch and just a few days ago on game day it was not tender to touch. He ran full speed yesterday; it was not sore today. So, he's making very good progress. He's been through this before, so he knows more about how he feels than I do," said Vermeil.

That was amazing news considering most expected that Morton would be released during Tuesday's roster cut. But the injury to Boerigter has caused the Chiefs to turn to three rookie receivers Richard Smith, Samie Parker and tight end Kris Wilson. All three can catch the ball. Parker is slowed by a tender hamstring but Smith and Wilson have the confidence of the Chiefs coaches that they can make contributions in practice but can they do it on Sunday's? That remains to be seen.

It appears the Chiefs are shying away from brining in a veteran receiver like Tampa Bay Buccaneer Keenan McCardell. Though the Bucs deny any trade inquiries about their hold out wide receiver, they'd likely part with him for a mid round draft choice.

As far as Marc Boerigter, he decided against surgery on his injured knee on Monday. If he has the srugery, he's likely out for the season. The injured Chief decided to get a second opinion so his date with the surgeon has been postponed at least for another day. Vermeil for one understands why Boerigter decided to get another opinion.

"If it was your knee wouldn't you want to go for a second opinion. That's just the normal situation today. That's just how it is. But I feel that I know because I know our doctors. I think it's very serious."

Read between the lines. If the surgery takes place, Boerigter is out until training camp next year.

In other news, the Chiefs made some early cuts as they prepare to get their roster trimmed before Tuesday's first NFL mandatory cut down. Three players were released while injured so the Chiefs had to negotiate an injury settlement. Others were given their out right release. Below are the early roster cuts.

Medical Cuts:
TE Billy Baber
LB Scott Shields
LB Isaac White

Non-Medical Roster Cuts:
FB Marvin Brown
T Matt Miller
DE Demetrios Walker
CB Sean Weston
P Rodney Williams

In other AFC West & NFL News:
Denver - After trading away their best offensive player running back Clinton Portis, the Broncos lost back-up running back Mike Anderson for the season when he tore two separate areas in his groin that completely separated from the bone. OUCH! Now the Broncos go into the season with two unproven running backs, second year man Quentin Griffin and rookie Tatum Bell. Anderson was the elder statesmen of the group and he was supposed to be the Broncos fall back at running back if the rookies struggled.

Well that's not going to happen and Broncos fans have to be wondering if the younger backs can compliment quarterback Jake Plummer. Mike Shanahan really stuck his neck out with the trade of Portis and Chiefs hand will see first hand how the young guns do as they teams square off Sunday Night September 12th.

Jacksonville - Remember all the hoopla surrounding defesnive end Hugh Douglas and the Kansas City Chiefs a year ago March. Well the Jacksonville Jaguars released the veteran Monday afternoon. Jacksonville Head Coach Jack Del Rio realized that Douglas can no longer be an effective pass rusher. But don't feel sorry for Douglas, he quickly re-signed with the Philadelphia Eagles late Monday night.

This marks the second veteran defensive end to be released by Del Rio. Last week he cut Tony Brackens who could draw some interest from the Chiefs especially if Vonnie Holliday does not survive the final cut this weekend.

Baltimore - The Baltimore Ravens welcomed back super-stud cornerback Chris McAlister back in camp on Monday. It appears that McAlister didn't want to play second fiddle to Deion Sanders who is close to joining the Ravens pending approval his contract by the league.

According to head coach Brian Billick both the 37-year old Sanders and McAlister should be ready to play against the Cleveland Browns on September 12th. It remains to be seen if Sanders can become ‘Prime Time' again or if he'll simply be another aging veteran who just can't accept the fact that the game has passed him by years ago.

Sanders last played for the Redskins in 2000 and unless he's found the fountain of youth, there is no way he can regain the form that led to his retirement the first time. No one cornerback received more hype in his career than Sanders. He was never known as anything but an average cover man and his abilities to tackle remind me of a bullfighter waiving a red cape in the wind.

If the Ravens are foolish enough to sign him, then let's hope the extra publicity will fill some of the empty seats that have become common place in Baltimore the last two years. It might be a moot point as the Ravens offense has been ineffective this pre-season. Sooner or later you have to score points and the addition of Sanders won't put numbers on the scoreboard.


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