INSIDE SLANT: Warfield Suspension Alters Plans

Eric Warfield spent the spring hoping against hope that he might somehow escape the NFL's punishment following his third DUI incident in a three-year period.

In Warfield's fantasy world, he already paid his debt with 10 days of shock time in a Johnson County, Kan., jail, followed by nearly three months of house arrest and his involvement in an alcohol abuse program. The NFL, of course, had its own debt to be paid.

The league informed the Chiefs and Warfield on July 12 that Warfield would be suspended for the season's first four games for violation of its alcohol and substance abuse policy.

"I was hoping for a lesser penalty," said Kevin Regan, Warfield's attorney. "Eric's been a model probationer, he's been released from house arrest and has done everything and more that has been asked of him. He's on the right path."

Warfield will miss the first four killer games of the Chiefs schedule -- a home opener with the 2004 playoff qualifying Jets, prime-time road games at Oakland and Denver and a Week Four game with defending NFC champion Philadelphia.

With a cornerback corps of Warfield and former Dolphin Patrick Surtain, Kansas City's biggest off-season free-agent acquisition, Kansas City had a realistic chance of surviving the rugged September schedule with perhaps a .500 record. Now with Warfield down for the month, the Chiefs may be hard pressed to avoid the 1-3 start of 2004 that put them in a hole from which they never did escape.

A couple of veteran cornerbacks whose best years are behind them will attempt to fill Warfield's spot. Dexter McCleon had a team-high six picks for Kansas City in 2003, but he lost his starting job after struggling early in the '04 season. He missed the entire spring workout routine while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

Ashley Ambrose, 34, was signed in June after the Chiefs lost youngster Julian Battle to a season-ending Achilles tendon tear. Ambrose had three interceptions in nine games as a reserve with New Orleans last year.

The Chiefs will fly from Kansas City to their River Falls, Wis., camp -- a Wisconsin suburb of the Twin Cities -- on July 27. The first practice is July 28 with the first of two-a-days in pads on Friday, July 29.

For the first time in the 15 years they've been going to the cooler climate of Wisconsin, the Chiefs will not work out with another NFL team - i.e., the Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City's first preseason opponent on Aug. 12.

The team will break camp on Friday, Aug. 19 and climate condition in Kansas City through the rest of the month. Morning practices will be conducted from 8-10 a.m., with most afternoon sessions scheduled for 4:30-6:15 p.m. Night practices are scheduled for Aug. 2 and 6, which will be the annual Family Fun Night.

Speculation continues to grow that the Chiefs will be conducting their final training camp in Wisconsin. A move back to the Kansas City area, which appears likely, would be made mainly for political reasons. Kansas City Chiefs president Carl Peterson loves having camp in the cooler summer weather of River Falls, Wis., where the team can train more efficiently. But he's also in the position of asking the state of Missouri for financial help on stadium funding. It's hard to make provincial lawmakers sympathetic to your needs when you're spending a considerable training camp budget in Wisconsin.

The Chiefs are being recruited hard with training camp offers from several Division II Missouri schools in St. Joseph, Warrensburg and Maryville.

"We are really focused on trying to find a way to stay in Jackson County (Mo.) long-term. I think a renovated Arrowhead is the best option. It would only make sense for the county and we would be delighted to extend our lease for another 20 plus years if we were able to work out the right kind of package in making those renovations." -- Clark Hunt, son of the Chiefs owner and the team's new Chairman of the Board, on the team's desire to remain in a renovated Arrowhead Stadium. Top Stories