DeWayne Washington: Cornerback Came To Play

DeWayne Washington who signed a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday did so without any fanfare. While the city fixated on the possibility of signing Ty Law, Washington signing appeared to be little more than an afterthough even by the coaching staff.

"He was out there, we had a space and a locker open, so we thought we would bring him in," Vermeil said on Thursday. There seemed to be little expectation that Washington would come in and earn a starting spot alongside Patrick Surtain. Vermeil continued, "He's played a lot of football. … He has had a great career. He was available, so we'll give him a chance."

For a city that is hungry for talented cornerbacks, its surprising that Washington's addition to the team went largely unnoticed. His signing was described by a local newspaper as "a less expensive pick" ( than Ty Law), and indicated that the Chiefs interest in him was as "insurance in a defense that is leaving nothing to chance". He may end up being allot more than that. Washington isn't used to riding the pine in the NFL and doesn't consider himself just training camp fodder. Neither do the wide receivers that Washington has covered thus far in camp. He has an NFL resume that is very impressive.

Washington has made 170 starts in 11 seasons, recording 31 interceptions and 829 tackles. He had a string of 122 consecutive starts snapped midway through 2003 with the Pittsburg Steelers. He tied current Chiefs teammate Kendrell Bell for third place in total tackles in 2001 and also that year led the Steelers for the second consecutive year in the number of passes defended.

He started all 16 games for Jacksonville last year with two interceptions, and forced fumble and two interceptions. Washington has a string of 11 consecutive seasons with at least one interception, every season he has played in the NFL since being selected as the first round choice of the Minnesota Vikings out of North Carolina State. Following his rookie year of 1994 Washington was named Defensive Rookie of the Year by College and Pro Football Newsweekly and earned All-Rookie honors from Pro Football Weekly and Pro Football Writers of America.

For a team that has suffered through some unimpressive cornerback play the last couple of years, those are pretty impressive statistics. It seems as though Washington sort of snuck through town on his way to camp.

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