Chiefs sign Carney to replace Rayner

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs signed free agent placekicker John Carney on Tuesday, making yet another attempt to correct a series of faulty decisions that has plagued their kicking game all year.

Carney has played in 269 games for five teams over a productive 20-year career, which ranks him fourth overall with 422 field goals. At 43, he's lost distance, another factor the Chiefs and their struggling offense will be forced to take into consideration when mapping out game strategy.

Carney replaces Dave Rayner, who was 15 of 22 after replacing Justin Medlock, a rookie the Chiefs drafted with a supplemental pick in the fifth round out of UCLA but gave up on in September.

The Chiefs (4-7), who have lost four in a row, drafted Medlock last April over Colorado All-American Mason Crosby.

Crosby, taken by Minnesota in the following round, is 15 of 18 for the Vikings. Rayner was available for the Chiefs to pick up because Crosby had just beaten him out in Minnesota.

Carney was among several kickers the Chiefs worked out in September before going with Rayner because they liked his longer kickoffs.

"Medlock's got talent," Edwards said. "Young kickers, they go through this. They might get cut, and their second or third year in the league, they find their way and they become good kickers. There's not too many rookie kickers who come in right away and just light it up.

"When guys came out of college and you looked at all the stats and you weighed everything, he was the best guy," Edwards added. "It didn't work out for him. So far. But a year from now or two years from now, he could be in the league kicking."

The Chiefs' return game has also been spotty since former Pro Bowl returner Dante Hall was traded to St. Louis. Eddie Drummond, signed to replace Hall when Hall was released by Detroit, did not work out at all. The Chiefs have turned to Jeff Webb to return kickoffs and Eddie Kennison to handle punts - neither with great success.

Even punter Duston Colquitt, who had been outstanding, has not kicked as well the last few games.

"The thing we've done a good job of is covering kicks and punts," Edwards said. "We haven't done a good job of returning. That's a fact. We haven't done a good job of being consistent kicking field goals. The punter, he's had a couple of bad punts. But he's a very good punter."

After drafting Medlock, the Chiefs also jettisoned last year's place kicker, Lawrence Tynes, without even bringing him to camp.

But Edwards said he was not wasting any time looking back at any past decisions, starting with the drafting of Medlock.

"You go with the information you have," Edwards said. "Your whole life, if you live on things you didn't do, you'll live a miserable life. To be human is to err. We're going to make some errors.

The road to Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz. may start on Jan. 5, but the competition for the 12-team playoff field is already under way.

Where does your favorite team stand?

"The thing about athletics, about sports, when you make errors, guess what? Everybody gets to talk about it. And they get to second-guess you. And that's part of the deal and that's OK. When you sign on, you sign on for that.

"When you're not winning as a football team, you've got dumb coaches. These same dumb coaches took this team to the playoffs last year."

Carney has played in 269 games with Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego, New Orleans and Jacksonville. He appeared in eight games this season with the Jaguars, filling in for an injured Josh Scobee.

"He's made a lot of pressure field goals in his career," said Edwards.

The Chiefs play San Diego this week, the team Carney kicked for from 1990-2000.

Rayner was AFC special teams player of the week when the Chiefs beat San Diego 30-16 on Sept. 30. But his fate was sealed on Sunday when Edwards elected to run on fourth-and-one rather than try a 41-yard field goal in a game they lost to Oakland 20-17. Rayner had earlier missed a 33-yarder.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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