Chiefs coach Crennel pulls team together

By DOUG TUCKER - Associated Press
    2012-12-02 18:58

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - One day after the shocking murder-suicide involving linebacker Jovan Belcher, the Kansas Chiefs played their finest game of the season and beat Carolina 27-21.

No turnovers. Just one penalty. And almost to a man Sunday, they praised the leadership of their embattled coach, Romeo Crennel.

The previous day, Crennel had stood alongside general manager Scott Pioli in the Chiefs parking lot and saw Belcher put a gun to his head and pull the trigger.

``It was tough, hard on him,'' said defensive lineman Shaun Smith. ``I told him after the game I love him, because he's like my father. I could feel the pain and emotion that he was dealing with.''

Linebacker Andy Studebaker, his voice choking, said a team ``couldn't ask for a better way to lead.''

``He provided us with a ton of perspective about leaning on each other, bracing each other,'' Studebaker said. ``He provided great leadership, great perspective in the circumstances we dealt with yesterday. I don't think you could have asked him to handle it better.''

Brady Quinn was 19 for 23 for 201 yards and two touchdowns and gave the Chiefs their best quarterback play since they won the AFC West in 2010 behind Matt Cassel. Quinn also gave Crennel credit for keeping everybody together.

``Crennel kind of said it best before the game, kind of talked to us about how Jovan played the game,'' Quinn said. ``That's how he wanted us to go out and play the game. That's the kind of emotion he wanted us to have.''

Throughout the season, as losses and misplays mounted and the Chiefs dropped 10 of their first 11 games, fan and media criticism of Crennel became relentless, even personal, and sometimes cruel.

Never once has he let on that it bothered him. But this was different.

Crennel admitted the pain and shock of what he had witnessed would stay with him a long time.

``Respectfully you guys and ladies, I'm choosing not to answer any questions about what I saw yesterday,'' Crennel told reporters. ``And I think you will understand that and you'll respect my wishes on that, because it wasn't a pretty sight.''

He said he knew the players would be looking to him for strength.

``I felt like I would be able to handle it, and I knew I needed to be strong for the players in that locker room and they needed to see a strong, individual leader,'' he said.

While many around the town and around the league were wondering if Sunday's game would be postponed, Crennel was making the decision to carry forth.

``After talking with the captains, they also felt like it was best that we play,'' he said. ``If for no other reason it takes our mind off our misery for a few hours. That's what it did. It helped us do that.''

Crennel said he sensed a good energy in the locker room as the Chiefs were about to take the field. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak and gave the hometown fans a victory to cheer for the first time in almost a calendar year.

``It was a total team victory. I'm proud of the guys in that locker room, proud of the coaches, proud of the organization for having to deal with what we had to deal with, and be able to pull through it and show some character,'' said Crennel. ``As an organization, as a team, as players and coaches, I thought that was all very positive.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt ForteNov 26 07:13p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte (knee) is officially active for the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Nov. 26.

Corey BrownNov 26 03:43p

Carolina Panthers WR Corey Brown (shoulder) has been declared inactive for the Week 12 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Corey BrownNov 26 03:33p

The Carolina Panthers have declared RB Brandon Wegher, RB Cameron Artis-Payne, CB Charles Tillman, WR Corey Brown, LS Danny Aiken, WR Kevin Norwood, DE Ryan Delaire inactive for Week 12.

Brice ButlerNov 26 03:33p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared WR Brice Butler, TE Geoff Swaim, LB Mark Nzeocha, CB Morris Claiborne, OG Ronald Leary, DE Ryan Russell, RB Trey Williams inactive for Week 12.

Timothy WrightNov 26 11:33a

The Detroit Lions have declared OT Corey Robinson, DL Gabe Wright, S Isaiah Johnson, DL Jermelle Cudjo, OT LaAdrian Waddle, WR T.J. Jones, TE Tim Wright inactive for Week 12.

Darrelle RevisNov 26 11:33a

New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis (concussion) wasn't spotted at practice Thursday, Nov. 26, and he's unlikely to play in Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins.

Calvin JohnsonNov 26 11:23a

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is active Thursday, Nov. 26, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Matt BryantNov 26 11:13a

Updating previous reports, Atlanta Falcons PK Matt Bryant (quadriceps) injured his quadriceps in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Sam BradfordNov 26 11:13a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 26.

Sam BradfordNov 26 11:13a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared DL Brandon Bair, CB Denzel Rice, WR Jonathan Krause, RB Ryan Mathews, QB Sam Bradford, OT Tanner Hawkinson, TE Zach Ertz inactive for Week 12.

Peyton ManningNov 26 11:03a

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Devonta FreemanNov 26 11:03a

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Shayne GrahamNov 26 10:43a

Free-agent PK Shayne Graham (Saints) will sign with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, Nov. 26, according to a source.

Mark SanchezNov 26 08:43a

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Doug BaldwinNov 25 07:43p

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Tyrod TaylorNov 25 07:23p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) said he will play in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Malcom FloydNov 25 06:53p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates (hip) and WR Malcom Floyd (shoulder) were limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Case KeenumNov 25 06:43p

St. Louis Rams QB Case Keenum (concussion) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Dexter McClusterNov 25 06:33p

Tennessee Titans RB Dexter McCluster (knee) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Kendall WrightNov 25 06:33p

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A. Seferian-JenkinsNov 25 06:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Stedman BaileyNov 25 05:53p

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