Chiefs signed Zombo for just this situation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Frank Zombo would be the first to tell you he’s no Justin Houston. But Zombo has pass-rush skills, and he was once a part-time starter for a Super Bowl-winning team.

The Kansas City Chiefs may well have to put those credentials to work on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Houston, an outside linebacker and the Chiefs' top pass-rusher, has shown concussion symptoms after being hit in the head and neck area in last week’s game in Tennessee.

Houston returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis but had yet to be cleared to play in the game. If he’s not, Zombo would play.

“He’s a versatile guy,’’ defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “He’s pretty smooth in coverage. We feel like he can go in there and play and we’ll be OK in that regard. We’re not doing anything less if he walks out there. We’re very comfortable with him.’’

Zombo, signed as a free agent during the offseason, showed the Chiefs some pass-rush skills in the preseason. He has so far played mainly on special teams during the regular season, but he had four sacks as a rookie and part-time starter for Green Bay in 2010, when the Packers won the Super Bowl.

The Packers eventually gave up on Zombo after two more seasons, both filled with injuries. New Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, formerly the college scouting director for the Packers, was familiar with Zombo and signed him to be a backup.

He may have to start against the Raiders, and, if so, he said the situation will be familiar.

"When you play the other side of Tamba Hali, it’s definitely going to be nice," Zombo said. "I was used to that playing in Green Bay, playing the opposite side of Clay Matthews."