Turley Will Play Tackle

In the NFL, once you get a bad wrap, it sticks to you like glue. But sometimes you can shed that image by simply changing your appearance. When Kyle Turley walked up to the media after his first practice as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, he looked far removed from the man who wildly threw his helmet in a game against the New York Jets two seasons ago.

Instead, we were greeted by a short-haired, chiseled NFL veteran who looks like he's in the best shape of his career. The knock on Turley in recent months is the fact that he's lost so much weight. And for the Chiefs, there never was any talk about him playing tight end. Instead, they signed him to compete for the starting right tackle position. Despite the fact that he's looking to add about some weight to his 275-pound frame, Turley will be ready to play tackle once the Chiefs hit River Falls.

"The ultimate goal has always been to get back to my original position," said Turley. "Obviously I've had a lot of things go against that with a back injury and a weight-loss situation, but I fought back from that and it's continued to come along very well."

Turley brings a mean streak to the offensive line that should nicely complement Larry Johnson and the linemen already in place. Since John Tait left for Chicago two years ago, the Chiefs have gone through several right tackles, including Jordan Black, Kevin Sampson, Chris Bober and John Welbourn. Only Welbourn was able to hold his ground, but he has not been seen practicing with the Chiefs this preseason. No one knows if or when he is going to return.

Clearly, Black struggled mightily last season. Sampson dealt with an injury in training camp and then suffered a bout with asthma during the regular season.

That's why the Chiefs did their homework and came to the conclusion that it was in their best interests to add a player like Turley.

"I just think that if you can get tackles, you can't get enough of them," said head coach Herman Edwards. "If one of them gets hurt, all of sudden you start scratching your head, and it's hard for a young guy to go in there and play right away. He's a veteran guy, has a lot of experience, played both sides and he's excited about playing football again."

That pretty much sums up Edwards opinion about the depth on the offensive line. The right tackle spot is clearly a concern, and with more emphasis on running the ball more in 2006, the offensive line will be a key. It's still one of the best in the NFL, but it's getting old.

Granted, this is Turley's ninth NFL season, but the last two years he's been on the sidelines. He should be well-rested and ready to learn the Chiefs complex offense.

"Football is football, it's not rocket science," said Turley. "It's just terminology, so I'm just picking up the different terminology, learning how they call things and going from there. A defense is still a defense in this league. As far I'm aware, it hasn't changed over the last two years."

This is a no-risk signing for the Chiefs. But it was a shrewd move by the organization, especially when you consider the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos also showed interest in signing Turley.

If he can stabilize the offensive line and buy some time for players such as Sampson, Will Svitek and Black to improve, the Chiefs might just answer the only question they have on offense going into the season.

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