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Injury problems raising concerns about Croyle's role with Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A bruised right hand may stop Brodie
Croyle from playing against the New York Jets on Sunday, and
concern is growing that Kansas City's strong-armed young
quarterback might be too frail for the NFL.

Croyle was listed as questionable after taking limited snaps in
practice Wednesday. Veteran Damon Huard could start as the Chiefs
(4-11) try to halt an eight-game losing streak in their season
finale at Giants Stadium.

"He's a lot better than he was," coach Herm Edwards said. "He
threw the ball a little bit. But he was limited. We'll see where
he's at tomorrow."

Finding out if Croyle was the quarterback the team could start
building around was one of Kansas City's goals this season. But he
didn't play well enough in the preseason to beat out Huard. When he
did become the starter after Huard was knocked woozy, he missed
time with a deep bruise in his back.

It was a reputation for being injury prone that caused Croyle to
drop to the third round of the 2006 draft. Now, although he has a
strong arm and a quick release, his tendency to get hurt is causing
the Chiefs to have second thoughts.

Will Kansas City use its first-round pick next April on a
quarterback?

"That's something that's going to be decided in the offseason,
when the draft's coming up," Edwards said. "Right now ... we feel
like he could be a good quarterback for us. We drafted him. We want
to develop him. He's still in that mode of being developed.

"His whole thing will be: Is he available? Your quarterback has
to be available."

In eight games, including five starts during the Chiefs' ongoing
skid, Croyle has hit 107 of 181 passes for 1,032 yards with five
touchdowns and six interceptions, a rating of 70.5. Croyle has
started five games and was 9-for-12 for 69 yards in Detroit last
week, when he bruised his hand trying to stop a defender from
running an interception in for a touchdown.

"He's gotten better," Edwards said. "He's done some things
better, but he still has a long ways to go. You anticipate when you
put a young quarterback in there that they're going to throw
interceptions. They all do that."

At Alabama, Croyle was frequently injured, but still threw for
6,382 yards with 41 touchdowns and 22 interceptions for a 128.4
rating.

Evaluating his performance is also difficult because the offense
overall has been so woeful. Larry Johnson, Kansas City's star
running back, missed the entire second half of the season with a
foot injury.

"We've got to build people around him, too," Edwards said.
"We lost our running back. It's not an excuse. But when you get
behind and have to throw the ball, it puts a lot of pressure on the
quarterback, and that puts the quarterback in a bad light, too.
There's a lot of things we've got to do to improve this football
team."

Croyle was not the only starter hampered by injuries as the
Chiefs prepared to put an end to their worst season in 20 years.
Also limited in practice were left tackle Damion McIntosh,
linebackers Donnie Edwards and Napoleon Harris, and wide receiver
Eddie Kennison.

Kansas City added quarterback Jeff Otis to its practice squad on
Wednesday and may promote quarterback David Green from the practice
squad if Croyle is not able to play. Green was excused from
practice to attend his grandmother's funeral.

Otis entered the NFL as a rookie free agent in 2006 with Arizona
and was released before the start of that season. He led the
Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europa to a World Bowl title in 2006 and
attended training camp with Oakland in 2007. His father, Jim Otis,
was a running back for Kansas City in 1971 and '72.

The Chiefs also said they had placed Johnson and cornerback
Tyron Brackenridge on injured reserve and agreed to a three-year
contract with tackle Travis Leffew and a one-year contract with
linebacker Mickey Pimentel.

Pimentel, who originally joined Kansas City as a member of the
practice squad on Dec. 12, was added to the 53-man roster.