No More Football for Roaf

After a euphoric rise in the Kansas City Chiefs Nation on Tuesday when cornerback Ty Law signed a free agent contract, those emotions turned sour on Friday morning with the news that All-World Tackle Willie Roaf announced that he's hanging up his cleats.

There comes a point in every players life in the NFL that signals the end of their career. Chiefs fans felt secure before last season ended when Willie Roaf announced he'd like to play a couple more seasons. That's not the case at least as of today.

To say the Chiefs brass was surprised about Roaf's retirement would be an understatement. Yes there were rumblings that Roaf was considering retiring several times since the season ended. But that seemed to make little sense since he spent a considerable amount of time recruiting fellow linemen Will Shields to play another season in Kansas City. So clearly he does not feel he's healthy enough to play at an All-Pro level.

Losing Roaf this early in training camp is problematic for the Chiefs but it's not the end of the world. Granted replacing such a legend is near impossible at this stage. For Herman Edwards all he can do is play the guys that are on the roster. Nonetheless he's planning ahead.

"We signed Tackle Kyle Turley and we've got some young guys who will get a lot of opportunities to participate and that is how we are going to go," Edwards said.

That all makes sense but now what? Do Chiefs fans think that Jordan Black can step up and play at a higher level than he did a year ago?

However in Black's defense, due to injuries of his own and Roaf last season, it seemed he bounced from left to right tackle seemed every week.

But despite the yo-yo rotation, the bottom line is Jordan Black was never comfortable at either tackle spot and that's not good for Trent Green's blind side, not to mention his health, this season. The Chiefs will face some seriously talented pass rushers this year and if the team can't solve the left tackle spot in training camp, this offense could struggle this season.

But in Black the Chiefs might have to roll the dice because second year man Will Svitek is still very green at the position. Though he was clearly the best and most talented offensive lineman in NFL Europe this past spring, that single year of experience is not enough to face the Chargers Shawne Merriman, the Ravens Terrell Suggs or the Steelers Joey Porter. Or is it?

Remember Svitek was drafted as a defensive end before he was converted to left tackle. Though he's an amazing athlete and he exudes confidence in his ability, even he has to wonder if he's really ready to make the jump from NFLE to the NFL. Despite the inexperience he appears ready for the challenge.

"We young guys have to step up," Svitek said after practice on Friday. "We have an opportunity. Being young is not an excuse."

But the most likely option is to put Kyle Turley at left tackle with Svitek serving as his understudy. That means Kevin Sampson will take over at right tackle. If that doesn't work out then the Chiefs might want to consider trying to lure John Welbourn out of his self-imposed retirement to bolster the offensive line.

If all those options fail, then Chiefs President Carl Peterson might have to pull a rabbit out of his hat and see if he can change Roaf's mind. Money always works!

But this does not appear to be the problem with Roaf. He's leaving $7 million on the table the next two years. That means Peterson might have to start dangling draft picks to find a veteran or a disgruntled young offensive tackle buried on another NFL roster. But those guys come at a premium.

Time will tell if the Chiefs can convince Roaf to return once their annual trek to River Falls comes to a close or if Peterson can make a deal in the next week to ten days.

If not, someone is going to have to step up. If it's a not a veteran then one of the young guns will have to grow up very fast. NFL style. Top Stories