Chiefs Glad Surtain Will Be Ready for Raiders

It wasn't the only reason they worked so hard to acquire him, of course, but the Chiefs wanted to have a Pro Bowl cornerback such as Patrick Surtain on hand for occasions just like this one. We're talking about Sunday night's game against Randy Moss, Jerry Porter and the Raiders in Oakland.

Clearly, the Chiefs were anxious to upgrade the NFL's worst pass defense of 2004 when they traded a second-round draft pick to Miami for Surtain, a two-time Pro Bowl corner. Facing Moss in the AFC West for two games annually certainly upped the ante, and so the Chiefs paid (some $6.25 million in an immediate signing bonus) to play.

Imagine their anxiety, then, as they watched Surtain lay unconscious on the Arrowhead Stadium turf after his first Kansas City interception and 53-yard return.

Surtain didn't play in the final 36 minutes of Kansas City's 27-7 near shutout of the Jets on opening day. But after clearing out some headaches on Monday and Tuesday of Raider Week, he took a full turn at practice Wednesday and pronounced himself ready for the task at hand. That is, to give the Chiefs defense a fighting chance against Moss and the rest of the Oakland passing attack.

Surtain has 30 career interceptions and an approach to taking on the NFL's most productive receivers that gives Kansas City reason to hope for better days for a defense that has seen little but hard times in the past three seasons.

"If you think you're ready to play in this league, you like the challenge of going against the best, and I consider Randy Moss one of the top receivers in the history of the league in only eight years," Surtain said Wednesday.

"He's special. They'll throw the ball to him at least 10 or 15 times, and if you're a playmaker (at corner), that's what you want. You want the opportunities to make plays.

"It's a big challenge; those guys are one of the most explosive offenses in the league," Surtain added. "They have so many weapons you can't just put your hat on one guy."

Surtain won't see Moss all day, of course. Surtain plays exclusively on the defensive left side, and Moss lines up all over the place. Whether the Raiders put him over Kansas City's other corner -- Dexter McCleon, a soon-to-be 32-year-old corner who lost his starting job with the Chiefs last year -- remains to be seen. But even if that happens, McCleon -- who has played in four straight Kansas City victories over Oakland -- knows what the Chiefs have to do to have a prayer. "We know they're going to make plays and get passes here and there," McCleon said. "But we have to do what New England did (in beating the Raiders last week), and that's take away the big plays. If they have to march the length of the field, that's not what they want to do. It's sometimes hard for them to be patient."

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"When you walk out of that tunnel and see these people who probably have these sophisticated jobs, and they're dressed in this silver mask with big fangs and claws on their hands and you hear the things they say to you; sometimes I just look at them and think, 'You've got to be kidding!'" - Dick Vermeil, on being a road team in Oakland.

SERIES HISTORY:
This is the 90th regular-season meeting. Chiefs lead 45-42-2 after winning the last four games. Chiefs are 6-4 in Oakland since the Raiders' return there, with the six victories coming by a combined total of just 31 points.

CHIEFS NOTES:
Chiefs running back Larry Johnson came up somewhere short of apologizing Wednesday for his involvement in an early Saturday morning bar incident that resulted in his being cited for domestic assault. Johnson faces municipal court charges after allegedly pushing and injuring a former girlfriend after she became involved in an argument with another woman in Johnson's company.

It was the second time in two years that Johnson had been accused of striking a woman. "This should be the last time; this won't happen again," Johnson said Wednesday. "I don't want to be known as a woman beater because that's not my M.O. That's not how I was raised. My reputation is at stake here."

Johnson said details in the police report of the incident have since been repudiated by the woman involved, who claims she asked police not to arrest Johnson after he filed an incident report. But Kansas City, Mo., police filed charges anyway after seeing bruises on the woman's arm.

GAME BY THE NUMBERS:
(9-1) - The Raiders' record in their last 10 home openers. The team that broke the unbeaten streak was Kansas City.

21: - The Chiefs have won 15 consecutive games when holding an opponent to under 21 points.

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