KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was already having a bad day, having dropped a couple of passes at practice.
His Wednesday got worse with comments made in the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine scheduled to come out Friday. In it, Bowe talked of Chiefs players arranging for women to meet them at the team hotel when the Chiefs played a game in San Diego in Bowe's rookie season of 2007.
"My rookie year, we were playing in San Diego,'' Bowe said, according to the magazine. "You hear stories about groupies hanging out in hotel lobbies, but some of my teammates had it set up so there was a girl in every room.
"The older guys get on MySpace and Facebook a week before we go to a city; when a pretty one writes back, they arrange to fly her in three or four days in advance. They call it importing. Younger guys don't have the money to do it.
"Anyway, these girls had the whole top floor. They know everything about us - first and last names, sisters and brothers, salary. This one girl was talking to me like she'd known me for years. 'Hey, D-Bowe, how's Grandma?'
"I'm like, 'How do you know my grandma?' She knew that I talk about her every time I'm interviewed for a story. I told her I had a girlfriend, but she didn't care. She was wearing my jersey, sitting in my lap, making it look like we knew each other. Then she took a picture and put it on Facebook. That almost got me in trouble.''
The Chiefs had no response to Bowe's comments, and Bowe could not be reached for comment. The story became public after the media interview period with coach Todd Haley and players concluded.
Bowe's comments could eventually prove nothing more than a minor distraction for the Chiefs. But they also could cause trouble in the locker room. Haley and general manager Scott Pioli have turned over much of the roster since joining the Chiefs last year, but some players remain from 2007.
One player they haven't touched is Bowe. The Chiefs have in fact been more patient with Bowe than they have with many other players.
He arrived for offseason work last year overweight, thus violating one of Haley's basic tenets. He was benched for a time during the preseason for failing to work as hard as the coach preferred. He was suspended for four games last year for violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances and was still among the league leaders in dropped passes.
None of that sounds like the stuff of a guy who's among Haley's right 53, but he's still with the Chiefs. That's a sign they are both taken with his ability and think he's not too far gone that they can't unlock his talents.
But Haley already sounded like someone losing patience with Bowe, and this was before his comments to the magazine, which certainly won't help him with the Chiefs.
"Dwayne Bowe is moving into the critical stage of his young career,'' Haley said recently. "You have to make a jump if you want to be talked about with certain receivers.
"(Last season) was a difficult year for him in a lot of ways between the suspension and him coming into the offseason a little out of shape. He's a guy we're all talking to on a pretty consistent basis to continue to make sure he understands . . . that we don't have a lot of backsliding.''
Bowe had a tough practice Wednesday. The Chiefs practiced outside in a light rain. In addition to dropping a couple of passes, he slipped and fell on the wet grass twice after catching passes.
He looked a lot like he did for much of last season.
"I've talked a bunch to Dwayne since the season ended, and I think he's got his expectations where they have to be, which is high, and he knows he needs to be better,'' Haley said. "I think as long as he's thinking that way and understands what the big picture is . . . then that's the way you get ahead of the bar.
"Again, I think the important thing with Dwayne are that his expectations are high and he knows he has to be a better player to be what he wants to be and to help make this team a great team. I'm encouraged by Dwayne. I'm not tempered at all. I think his mind is in the right place."
The Chiefs are counting on a big season from Bowe. The other starting wide receiver, Chris Chambers, played well after joining the Chiefs last season, but he will be 32 in August.
Otherwise, the Chiefs have only free-agent addition Jerheme Urban, second-round draft pick Dexter McCluster and a number of unproven players.
"He didn't know what to expect last year, so he came in and he wasn't in the greatest shape,'' Haley said of Bowe. "He had a difficult road back, and it was a struggle but he survived it, much like a lot of us did. He weathered the storm and got his weight where it had to be and more importantly, he understands what's expected of him.
"I know his mind's in the right place. He wants to be a top receiver, and now it's going to be up to him. (Bowe must) put everything into it to be a top receiver. I do think understanding what's expected is a big item for Dwayne Bowe. I don't doubt he has the skill to be a top receiver. He just needs to do it on a full-time basis.
"Dwayne's and my relationship has continued to grow. He's somebody I talk to on a pretty consistent basis, and I feel pretty good about where he's at and what he wants to be. These guys got to have the drive to be great and to be part of something great, and I think he's definitely in that category.''