KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In their brief history with coach Andy Reid, the Kansas City Chiefs have done a nice job of getting solid play from running backs not wanted by other teams. Last year's leading rusher, Spencer Ware, was once released by the Seattle Seahawks. The late Joe McKnight was discarded by the New York Jets and then played only briefly for the Chiefs but had a spectacular game in 2014 against the Dolphins in Miami.
Their latest running back reclamation project, C.J. Spiller, joined the Chiefs with more accomplishments than either Ware or McKnight upon their arrivals in Kansas City. Spiller caught 43 passes and rushed for 1,244 yards for the Buffalo Bills in 2012.
Spiller's career dropped off drastically since being discarded by four teams, including the New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets last year alone. The Chiefs, confident Spiller is past the knee troubles that bothered him the past couple of seasons, still didn't hesitate to sign Spiller after working him out last winter.
"I've got all the confidence," Spiller said. "I can't worry about stuff that happened in the past. You have to always believe in the type of player you are."
The Chiefs, who recently released Jamaal Charles, are looking for help at running back. They averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season, their lowest in the past five years by almost a half-yard.
That made the decision to sign Spiller an easy one for general manager John Dorsey after he watched Spiller's workout.
"I saw the quickness and the speed that he had in college," Dorsey said. "I saw that twitch back in him that he had earlier in his career.”
Spiller has some things working against him. He was fourth on the running back depth chart as the Chiefs opened offseason practice last week and the team will probably keep just three. Ware and rookie Kareem Hunt are certain to make the team, so Spiller will have to beat out Charcandrick West for a roster spot.
Spiller also next week turns 30, an age where running backs tend to start to lose their speed and skills.
But their situations with the Chiefs also at one point looked grim for Ware and McKnight. Ware was released by the Chiefs at the end of training camp before an injury to Charles opened a roster spot for him.
So the Chiefs will be watching closely for signs that Spiller can once again be the player he was for the Bills.
"These last couple of years, injuries kind of prohibited me from showcasing what type of player I was in 2012," Spiller said. "But I feel great this year and I'm ready to get back to doing what I do. I haven't lost a step at all. I've still got the speed and the quickness."