Chiefs cut receiver Lance Long

Catching up on some early AFC West news and notes:

The Kansas City Chiefs got down to the 75-man roster limit Tuesday by cutting receiver Lance Long. He was a sparkplug toward the end of last season.

Long had 20 catches for 178 yards last season. Still, the Chiefs have upgraded at receiver this offseason, so Long was facing an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster.

  • Meanwhile, the Kansas City Star has a projected 53-man roster. There aren’t too many surprises on the list.

  • Kansas City backup quarterback Brodie Croyle is throwing at practice after missing a couple of weeks with an arm injury.

  • Kevin O’Connell is available again. He was cut by the Jets. Denver coach Josh McDaniels played a big role in the drafting of O’Connell in New England, and McDaniels put a claim on O’Connell last year when New England cut him. But Detroit was awarded the claim. Cleveland and the Jets also claimed him. The Lions then dealt him to the Jets. The Broncos’ quarterback situation is pretty tight with Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn, so there may not be room for O’Connell this year. Kansas City general manager Scot Pioli has New England history with O’Connell, but the Chiefs didn’t make a play for him last year, so perhaps they won’t this year unless they think O’Connell is better than current No. 3 quarterback Tyler Palko.

Tampa Bay cut running back Derrick Ward. Denver had interest in him during free agency last year. The Broncos are very banged up at running back. It would make sense if Denver takes a look at Ward now.

  • ESPN’s John Clayton has an interesting look at how the AFC West quarterbacks figure in the league’s pecking order.

  • ESPN.com’s Page 2 has a look at the trading card impact of Denver quarterbacks past and future: John Elway and Tebow.

  • New Denver linebacker Jason Hunter is making a push for serious playing time.