Brock Watch: Lesnar gets a sack in scrimmage with Chiefs
MANKATO, Minn. -- Chiefs backup quarterback Damon Huard got to experience firsthand what it feels like to be bodyslammed by a pro wrestler.
Not that he asked for it.
Brock Lesnar, the former World Wrestling Entertainment star who turned down a lucrative contract for a chance to play in the NFL, picked up his first sack with the Minnesota Vikings on Friday. The victim: the 31-year-old Huard.
During morning drills between the Chiefs' offense and the Vikings' defense, Lesnar broke through the middle and nailed Huard low, knocking him on his back. The play drew a loud cheer from the crowd.
"I'm just here to prove myself," Lesnar said. "I've got to play hard every play and make some plays to really establish myself. That's just how it is."
After the hit, Huard slowly rose to his feet and needed to sit out for little while to regain his wind.
"He has actually progressed quicker than we actually thought he would," Vikings coach Mike Tice said. "You know, he's still lost a little bit at times, but he's certainly not going to back down from anybody. He's going to give extreme effort."
Not everyone was amused by Lesnar's hit, though. Hitting quarterbacks is often frowned upon in practice, and the Chiefs weren't too pleased. Huard sat out the evening practice as a precaution.
"I think he'll be ready next week," coach Dick Vermeil said.
Without mentioning Lesnar by name, starting quarterback Trent Green said sometimes cheap shots are thrown when younger players try to make an impression on their coaches.
"Or guys coming from other professions that are trying to make impressions," Green said, drawing a few chuckles.
^COMMISH VISITS:@ NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue dropped by Friday's morning practice and spoke to both teams.
Tagliabue praised the Vikings' new, more carnival-like, training camp atmosphere for the fans, but most of his conversation with the media centered on the team's stalled efforts for a new stadium.
"We are going to redouble our efforts, and try to make certain that this team is here in a new stadium in the near future," he said.
Asked about a timetable, Tagliabue replied: "For me the timetable is last year or the year before."
^GETTING DEFENSIVE:@ The Chiefs finished 13-3 in 2003 and had one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league for the second straight year.
But a suspect defense did them in during their first playoff game, a 38-31 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Kansas City's defense finished the regular season ranked 29th out of the NFL's 32 teams.
On Friday, Vermeil stopped short of saying his defense has already improved, but said his players fared well against the Vikings offense, which finished last season as the league's best.
Vermeil was particularly pleased with his defensive line, which caused a few early problems for Minnesota's vaunted running backs.
"They're very explosive," the coach said. "Overall we did a good job."
That gave younger Chiefs receivers like rookie Richard Smith, an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas, a chance to make an impression on coaches.
"He's doing great," said Green, adding that Smith has been a quick learner. "He catches the ball very well, does a good job in traffic hanging onto the ball. There was a few times today where he caught the ball and took a big hit afterwards and was able to hang onto the ball. So he's done very well. The more you do and the more success you have, the more opportunities you get."
^VIKINGS INJURIES:@ Tice pulled starting tight end Jim Kleinsasser out of the morning workout after he sprained an ankle.
Offensive guard Tam Hopkins also suffered a sprained ankle, and rookie defensive end Darrion Scott sprained his foot.
In other injury news, running back Moe Williams returned to practice after missing some time with a calf injury. He sat out the evening session.
^BRIEFLY:@ The Vikings have waived injured wide receiver Kenny Clark and fourth-string quarterback Matt Kegel. The signed receivers Chris Collins and Tony Johnson to fill the roster spots.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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