Berry has said he will be ready to play then. Lewis, a fellow starting safety who had postseason surgery to repair what he said was a torn pectoral muscle, wasn’t as definitive.
“Whenever the trainers say it’s cool for me, whenever they release me,” Lewis said when asked when he would be available to play. “I’m just playing it by ear, waiting it out. Everything is going smooth, according to plan, so whenever they’re ready to release me, that’s when it is. I’m just going on their call.
“(Berry’s) coming back healthy. I’m coming back off of (an) injury. So all we talk about is the things that we talked about when we first got here: Trying to be great, trying to be the best at your positions, trying to help this team become a greater team. (Those) are the type of conversations we have on a daily basis.”
While it was hoped that the prolific, albeit oft-injured passer from Alabama could anchor the quarterback position, he – like all too many others who have come after Len Dawson – ended up being a place holder. Sadly, Croyle’s story was less about his time on the field than the continual mantra from the organization that this was going to be his year to shine. It was a promise never fulfilled as he failed to earn a single win in 10 career starts over his five-year career with the Chiefs.
His first year in the league, he was the understudy to Trent Green in what should have been an ideal situation for a rookie quarterback. When Green was shipped to Miami before the 2007 season, Croyle was given the chance to compete for the starting job with Damon Huard – a battle featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Croyle received more attention for his wife, Kelli, than his play under center. He would appear in nine games, losing all six that he started.
•Peyton Hillis, Kansas City Chiefs: Stupid Madden curse. Injuries, the flu and poorly handled contract negotiations were all a part of a 2011 in which he failed to accumulate 300 total yards for the Cleveland Browns. In Kansas City, he’ll play some fullback and be a second fiddle to Jamaal Charles. Hillis could receive 10 to 12 touches a game and steal the goal-line carries. He’ll make a solid No. 3 back in PPR leagues and has a chance for more if Charles can’t regain his old form in his return from a knee injury.
Kansas City Chiefs (B+): Division champs in 2010, they’re markedly better just by emptying the injured reserve list — TE Tony Moeaki and Pro Bowlers Eric Berry (S) and Jamaal Charles (RB) all had torn ACLs by Week 2 in 2011. GM Scott Pioli signed TE Kevin Boss, RB Peyton Hillis and QB Brady Quinn to upgrade the roster and guard against the depth issues that surfaced last season. Elsewhere, Pioli hopes signing CB Stanford Routt to replace departed Brandon Carr proves a lateral move at minimum and must still deal with WR Dwayne Bowe, who is dissatisfied with his franchise tag.
4. Len Dawson, 6-0. The MVP of Super Bowl IV and a hall of famer, Dawson was known for his accuracy and poise. He struggled early in his career with the Steelers and Browns before his career took off with the Dallas Texans, and then the Chiefs.