Vermeil Left No Doubt About Future with Players

Coach Dick Vermeil told his players in their end-of-season meeting Monday that he planned on returning as their head coach in 2005, the final season on his contract.

"He was very emotional about it," related quarterback Trent Green. "He said he feels this team is close and that we're too good and that he was going to do everything he could to get it done. I had a personal meeting with him later and reconfirmed that. I believe him.

"He's very frustrated right now, but that's everybody. He'll take a few days to visit his family in Pennsylvania and then come back and start the offseason process."

The Chiefs set a plethora of offensive records that will prove to be the only thing they can hang their hats on during the losing season.

Among the most noteworthy records, Kansas City set the NFL record for first downs in a season. Their 398 bettered the 387 totaled by the 1984 Miami Dolphins.

The Chiefs also ran their two-year total of rushing touchdowns to 63, matching the two-year NFL record set by Vince Lombardi's Packers of 1961 and '62.

Green set team records for completions (369), single-season passing yards (4,591), 300-yard games (8) and passes of 20-plus yards (59).

But the Chiefs also tied the franchise record for the worst single-season dropoff -- six games -- from one season to another. The Chiefs were 13-3 and assured of a home-field bye in the first-round of the playoffs last year.

"Right now it's hard to feel good about (records) because we had such high aspirations," Green said. "Those are amazing accomplishments when viewed in the context of the history of this organization and the history of the NFL. But it may be a couple of years down the road before we can look back and appreciate exactly what we did."

With its third-place finish in the AFC West, the Chiefs in 2005 will draw seven games against five 2004 playoff opponents. In addition to home-and-home games with San Diego and Denver, the Chiefs also will face AFC East champ New England, NFC East winner Philadelphia and wild-card qualifier New York Jets, all at home.

Their home schedule next year also includes Cincinnati and Washington. Kansas City will play road games at Buffalo, Miami, Dallas, the New York Giants and Houston.

The San Diego loss marked the only game of the season in which the Chiefs failed to hold a lead at some point in the game.

OT Jordan Black, the third Chief to play at right tackle because of injuries this year, went down with a sprained knee early in the third quarter of the San Diego loss. His knee is expected to heal in the offseason without surgery. Rookie Kevin Sampson finished the game at right tackle.

TE Tony Gonzalez set the Chiefs' single-game record for receptions with 14 against San Diego. His 144 receiving yards were just three short of his career best. His 102 season receptions were the most by all tight ends in NFL history, and his 1,258 receiving yards were second-most in history to Kellen Winslow's 1,290 in 1980.

RB Larry Johnson, though held to only 46 rushing yards, had his first 100-yard receiving day when he went 8-115 with a 14-yard fourth-quarter reception. Johnson just missed a third TD when he took an end-of-half screen passes to within mere inches of the goal line on a play that began from the Chargers 41.

QB Trent Green, limited to a mere 126 yards in the first half when the Chiefs fell behind San Diego 17-3, had his worst passer rating since Week Two when he threw four interceptions and rated a 58.1 in the loss to San Diego. Passing at every opportunity to catch up from a 24-3 deficit in the fourth quarter, Green finished with 373 yards for his eighth 300-yard passing day of the season.

DE Jared Allen did not get the 10th sack of his rookie season against San Diego, leaving him one sack short of tying Derrick Thomas' rookie record.

QUOTE TO NOTE: - "They had a simple game plan: Get the ball to Tony Gonzalez. When that's all they're trying to do, it makes the job a lot easier." -- Chargers LB Steve Foley, noting that the Chiefs seemed preoccupied with getting their tight end the nine catches he needed to break Ben Coates NFL record for single-season receptions for a tight end (96).


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