Report: T Welbourn may return to Chiefs

Oct 18, 2006 - 6:47 PM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) - Perennial Pro Bowl tackle Willie Roaf is not returning to the Kansas City Chiefs. But John Welbourn may be headed back to help the offensive line.

The Kansas City Star is reporting that Welbourn, who retired last summer, will join the Chiefs next week.

Welbourn started 12 games at right tackle last season after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's steroid policy.

Welbourn, 30, was suspended six weeks for violating the league's drug policy before announcing his retirement in the summer. That suspension will be up after Sunday's game against San Diego.

The Chiefs ranked No. 1 in offense last season and Larry Johnson led the AFC with 1,750 rushing yards. But the loss of Roaf, an 11-time Pro Bowl left tackle, and Welbourn on the line has severely hurt the offense.

Quarterback Trent Green suffered a concussion in the season opener after being hit by defensive end Robert Geathers and Johnson has been limited to 357 rushing yards in five games.

Tackle Kyle Turley was signed as a free agent and replaced Roaf at left tackle. But Turley's chronic back problems flared up last week, forcing third-year player Jordan Black to move into the spot. Kevin Sampson, another third-year player, has started at right tackle.

The Chiefs acquired Welbourn from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004.

Kansas City on Wednesday also placed fullback Ronnie Cruz on injured reserve, ending his season. Cruz underwent knee surgery on Monday.

The Chiefs signed fullback Greg Hanoian to replace Cruz. Hanoian was cut by the New York Giants in training camp after spending part of the 2005 season on the Green Bay Packers' practice squad.

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