Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs' Chambers awaits Chargers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Now that he's found a safety net with the Chiefs, Chris Chambers isn't quite as bewildered about his recent release from San Diego.

Yet Chambers, a standout at wide receiver since joining the Chiefs early this month, said he is still troubled by the way his time with the Chargers ended. He said that will help motivate him Sunday when the Chiefs play the Chargers in San Diego.

"I have a chip on my shoulder just from leaving there, to tell you the truth," Chambers said. "I'm going to go out and play the best game I possibly can, and hopefully I'll be able to make some plays. I'm sure it will have some emotion involved in it."

The Chargers haven't suffered without Chambers. They won their three games since his Nov. 2 release and scored more than 30 points in each of the past two weeks.

San Diego began rotating Chambers, 31, with a younger player, Malcom Floyd, who has given his team some big plays. Chambers had only nine catches for the Chargers in seven games.

One of his last games for San Diego came against the Chiefs in October at Arrowhead Stadium. It was indicative of his season with the Chargers. He caught no passes but dropped two, including one in the end zone.

Chambers said his problem with the Chargers rested not so much with their decision to play Floyd, but that they waited so long to release him.

"They just wanted to play younger guys," Chambers said. "It was written on the wall, it seemed like, from training camp on. It was just waiting to happen. I'm sorry it had to happen that way. I wish they had manned up and told me straight out they were going to do this instead of dragging me along like they did.

"I had seen it coming. I'm an experienced player, and I can kind of see how they do it when they want to play other guys. But it never happened to me, so it was shocking. A lot of the players, LaDainian (Tomlinson), (Antonio) Gates and some of the other guys were definitely surprised.

"I wasn't playing as much as I would like. I was rotating in and out of games. It didn't help me. I'm the type of player that (needs to play) the whole game. That's my strength. I can figure defenses out that way and get involved. When you have to wait two, three quarters to do that, it really takes away from your game."

San Diego coach Norv Turner said the Chargers needed to get a better look at Floyd.

"I never thought it was about (Chambers') ability," Turner said. "When you make the decision to split time with Malcom Floyd and Chris, it's hard on a veteran guy to handle all that.

"We've got some consistency there now. I don't think what we were doing was fair to Chris or fair to Malcom, rotating those guys and trying to make it work."

The Chiefs are grateful for San Diego's charity. They grabbed Chambers and wasted no time getting him in their lineup. Four days after his first practice with the Chiefs, Chambers scored two touchdowns in a game at Jacksonville.

The Chiefs had 14 pass plays of 20 yards or longer in their seven games without Chambers and 12 in their three games with him. Chambers has five of them.

His 61-yard catch and run in overtime of last week's game against Pittsburgh set up Ryan Succop's game-winning field goal.

The Chargers haven't been surprised that Chambers energized the Chiefs so quickly. He joined San Diego in an early season trade with Miami in 2007 and caught a touchdown pass in his first game with the Chargers.

"He was here three days and he caught a touchdown in the game," San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers said. "So we were in the same position that Kansas City's in now.

"We certainly knew Chris had a lot left in the tank, and he's given Kansas City a boost."

While he might understand San Diego's desire to look at a younger player in Floyd, Chambers doesn't believe over-30 receivers need to be tossed in the junk pile.

"I came in with Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Steve Smith, T.J. Houshmandzadeh," Chambers said. "Those guys aren't slowing down either. It's all about getting the opportunities. Those guys have been getting tons of opportunities to make plays, and now I'm back to getting the opportunities, too.

"Look at my career. It's pretty good so far, and I feel like I have a lot of good football left in me. I'm glad I've been able to show that with the Chiefs."