Search Could End with Mitchell and Hakim

One day after visiting with free agent wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, the Kansas City Chiefs had a mini reunion when Dick Vermeil welcomed Az-Zahir Hakim to the practice field on Tuesday afternoon.

When reporters gathered after the OTA's the question was posed to Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil about making a choice between Freddie Mitchell and the player he drafted when he was head coach at St. Louis, Az-Zahir Hakim.

"We can take both," Vermeil told a stunned gathering of reporters. "You can never have too many good football players. I learned that a long time ago."

That statement should put an end to any thoughts that the Chiefs are satisfied with the 2005 roster. It's clear that they intend to add some veterans before the start of training camp in late July. It's also obvious that Kansas City is serious about bringing in a veteran wide receiver to take the place of the recently departed Johnnie Morton.

But can the Chiefs sign both wide receivers and create major competition at the wide receiver position? Yes but as Vermeil says that boils down to money.

"It always does," Vermeil said about costs of adding both players. "Competition makes other people better as well. Plus, Az Hakim knows the offense, he could run it today."

Does that mean that Hakim has the edge if Kansas City can only sign one of them to a contract? Not necessarily so according to someone we spoke with Tuesday in the organization.

From what we were told, Freddie Mitchell would be willing to sign for the NFL minumum to play for the Chiefs in 2005. However, that won't be the case for Hakim. He's already received a multi-year contract offer from New Orleans and that's something the Chiefs aren't likley to do. They will not get into a bidding war with the Saints or any other NFL team to add a veteran receiver.

Further complicating matters is the fact Hakim has received overtures from the Arizona Cardinals but they've yet to make a contract offer for his services. But that could change now that he has interest from two other NFL teams.

Regardless of the Chiefs interest, both players have some degree of issues to overcome. Hakim, though he is familiar with the Kansas City offense, he has been injured in each of the last three seasons while playing for the Detroit Lions.

Mitchell has a reputation of putting his foot in his mouth and causing problems inside the Philadelphia Eagles locker room. Granted playing next to Terrell Owens last year had to be a distraction for the impressionable Mitchell. Thus some of the immaturity he's recently showed can be directly attributed to the acqusition of Owens and his entourage of issues.

Vermeil however is not as concerend about Mitchell after talking to his former Head Coach on Tuesday Morning. "I talked to Andy Reid about it this morning. Coach Reid was very positive about the young man. "

The thought of signing both players would indeed bring some much needed competition to the wide receiver position. The only lock on the roster is veteran Eddie Kennison and to a lessor degree second year man Samie Parker. Outside of that everyone else is a question mark.

Fourth round draft pick Craphonso Thorpe from Florida Sate has been exceptional the last two days of OTA's. He looks like a different player on the field from the first set of workouts two weeks ago. On Tuesday, I saw first hand that blazing speed as he nearly caught a 50-yard bomb in eleven on eleven drills. Still that's no endorsement that he's ready to contribute in the first half of the season but at least its an option.

Marc Boerigter is getting closer to the practice field but its hard to determine what a year off has done to his instincts and skills on the field. The only other option is Richard Smith who returned to OTA's on Monday after sitting out a couple of weeks with a deep thigh bruise.

In addition, the Chiefs have for now closed the door on former Seattle Seahawks wide out Koren Robinson. He's facing a possible one-year suspension from the NFL if he's convicted for his recent DUI. That would be his second offense in less than a year and Kansas City simply does not want to carry that baggage this season.

So when you add up all those items and mix in the fact the Chiefs have a reluctance to use Dante Hall in the offense in 2005, signing Mitchell or Hakim would appear to be a wise move by Kansas City. Top Stories