Chiefs quarterback Croyle won't play Sunday

By: By DOUG TUCKER, AP Sports Writer
By: By DOUG TUCKER, AP Sports Writer

November 30, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Quarterback Brodie Croyle will miss the Chiefs' game Sunday against the Chargers with a "deep, deep bruise" in his lower back, and veteran Damon Huard will start in his place.

Croyle wasn't able to practice at all this week, coach Herm Edwards said Friday.

"He threw a little bit, but just can't move," he said.

Croyle will not suit up, but could be ready next week, Edwards said. The second-year pro had started the last two games and is designated as Kansas City's quarterback of the future.

Tyler Thigpen, a rookie claimed off waivers from Minnesota on Sept. 2, will be the backup. Behind him is 12-year veteran wide receiver Eddie Kennison, who hasn't been under center since high school.

Huard, an 11-year veteran, was 163-of-262 for 1,766 yards in the first nine games, with eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He was lifted for Croyle after getting shaken up in a home game against Denver on Nov. 11.

"My body feels a lot better than it did then. That's one nice thing," Huard said. "I feel pretty fresh."

Huard started eight games in place of the injured Trent Green last year and was 5-3. But he did not perform as well when he became the starter this season after Green was traded to Miami.

One of his best games this year was a 30-16 victory at San Diego on Sept. 30, when he passed for 284 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions.

"That was a long time ago," he said. "It's a long season. You watch tape and hopefully learn from it and move on. But that was a long time ago, that game."

The Chiefs (4-7) have lost four in a row.

"There's always pressure, especially when your back's to the wall," Huard said. "We've lost four games in a row as a team. It's tough. There's a lot of pressure on all of us. You've always got to believe in yourself and believe that you're going to go out there and win."

Thigpen, drafted in the seventh round last spring by Minnesota out of Coastal Carolina, has never appeared in an NFL game. He took a few practice snaps this week with the first team.

"I got a few in on Wednesday and Thursday," he said. "The first day I was a little nervous. Then on Thursday I felt a lot more comfortable running the plays. I feel comfortable if I had to go in there on Sunday."

Croyle caught a knee in the back early in the game last week against Oakland but managed to finish the game. Although he passed for more yards at Alabama than former illustrious Crimson Tide quarterbacks such as Joe Namath and Ken Stabler, he fell to the third round in the 2006 draft because of a history of injuries. The Chiefs fear he's going to have the "injury prone" label hung on him now.

"That's going to be the knock," Edwards said. "People are going to say that now that he's a little nicked. But it's nothing he can't recover from. His college years early, he got hurt some. But his senior year he got through it. Any time you get hurt once or twice in your career, people say, `He's injury prone.' But I don't buy into that. I just think it was a freak accident what happened to him. Got hit in the wrong spot."

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