Culpepper-to-Chiefs talk may be premature

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs are not as eager to sign former Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper as many people thought.

Not done yet?


Former Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper retired before the start of the season, but seems willing to comeback. Check out his average numbers per season:

» Passer rating: 89.9

» Completions: 207

» Pass attempts: 325

» Passing TDs: 16

» Interceptions: 10

» Rushing yards: 282

» Rushing TDs: 4

Although adding the veteran quarterback to the roster remains a possibility some time down the road, coach Herm Edwards said Monday that Culpepper would not even come in for an interview.

Culpepper, a three-time Pro Bowler with Minnesota, is the biggest name out there who might be available. And the Chiefs have had a big quarterback need since their top two, Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard, went out for the year with injuries.

But third-teamer Tyler Thigpen, in just his second NFL start, played much better than expected in a 28-24 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.

Before suffering a serious knee injury in 2005, Culpepper was one of the league's most productive quarterbacks.

He retired prior to this season following one-year stays with Miami and Oakland but has indicated he would like to come out of retirement, and has spoken with Kansas City more than once.

"That's not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination," Edwards said. "There's conversation involved in it and that's kind of where it's at."

Culpepper acts as his own agent.

Last week the Chiefs signed former Jacksonville backup Quinn Gray and put him behind fourth-teamer Ingle Martin.

"You know, we've got one veteran," Edwards said. "He's played in some games. I think that helps you when you get a guy who plays the way (Thigpen) played. You go, 'Wait, wait, this guy did pretty good.' I think he gave everybody some confidence, not only himself but also the team."

After throwing three interceptions in a 38-14 loss to Atlanta on Sept. 21 in his first NFL start, Thigpen went eyeball-to-eyeball with Brett Favre on Sunday and never blinked. He was 25-for-36 for 280 yards and two touchdowns and was never intercepted.

Favre threw three interceptions, but salted away the 41st come-from-behind win in his great career with a late touchdown pass after the Chiefs went three-and-out on three straight runs by backup runner Kolby Smith.

Rookie Jamaal Charles, who had most of the Chiefs' carries against the Jets, had gone to the sideline with a high ankle sprain. Former Pro Bowler Larry Johnson continues to be deactivated after being charged Monday with simple assault . If Charles is not back this week, rookie kick returner Dantrell Savage would be the only other running back on the roster.

To help Thigpen, the Chiefs changed their offense to things that would suit him, going with more no-huddle, spreading the offensive formation, what the Chiefs call "red ball."

But Edwards did not disagree with the suggestion that Thigpen's performance might make Kansas City's need for veteran help at the position less urgent.

"I think what it does, it gives you some hope that the guy can continue to play like that, that he's going to get better, and that you've got a guy who's consistent at the quarterback position," Edwards said. "I don't think we've started two games with the same guy starting at quarterback yet. So that gives you that stability. Now hopefully he can go out there this week."

The Chiefs (1-6) host Tampa (5-3) this week.

"The problem this week again is he's playing one of the better defenses in football," Edwards said.

The players seemed encouraged by Thigpen's better-than-expected performance.

"Tyler played a heck of a game. He was on target all day, made good decisions, was accurate with almost all his throws," said fullback Mike Cox. "He had a lot more control of the situation than he did against Atlanta. He was a lot more calm. He showed a lot of quarterback poise on the field and in the huddle."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.