Chiefs’ Weis one tough coordinator

The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t only playing through pain. They’re

coaching through it, too.

A bad knee that left him barely able to walk during training

camp was just the beginning for Charlie Weis this year. Next, an

acute gall bladder infection plunged the tough-as-a-boot offensive

coordinator into agony and left him with a knotty dilemma: go ahead

and have surgery, relieve the suffering but miss the San Francisco

game?

Or wait two days until after the game?

Weis, 54, waited. He endured 48 hours of pain until the Chiefs

had routed San Francisco on Sept. 26, and then hurried into the

hospital to allow doctors to fix the problem.

”That did show a lot of guts,” said wide receiver Chris

Chambers. ”He could have taken a month off and laid around the

house and nobody would have blamed him. But I don’t think he took

one day off.”

The former Notre Dame head coach and offensive coordinator for

New England’s three Super Bowl champions said he’s feeling fine

these days.

But ever since training camp opened he’s needed a motorized cart

to get around the practice field. As soon as the season is over,

he’ll have surgery on the knee.

”Doing fine,” he said Friday with a grin. ”I like it here in

Kansas City. I like it here with the Chiefs. My family likes it

here. Things have gone well.”

The improvement in the offense since Weis came aboard last

January has been dramatic. Going into Sunday’s game against

Buffalo, the Chiefs (4-2) are averaging 345 yards per game, lead

the NFL in rushing and occupy first place in the AFC West.

Last year without Weis, the Chiefs finished fourth in their

division and Matt Cassel threw 16 touchdown passes and 16

interceptions. So far this year in six games, he’s thrown for nine

touchdowns and been intercepted only three times. Among

quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts, only Peyton Manning

and Mark Sanchez have thrown fewer picks.

”He’s helped us tremendously,” said former Pro Bowl left guard

Brian Waters. ”What he did was come in and figure out what we do

well and what we don’t do well. I think he’s put it all together

and it’s helped us a lot.”

Knowing what Weis has been going through, any player who feels

tempted to complain about this bump or that bruise is more likely

to just shut his mouth and go back to work.

”We know it means something to him to be here with us,” said

center Casey Wiegman. ”He could have been sitting around at home,

resting, getting better. And nobody would have blamed him.”

Health problems are no stranger to Weis, who like so many

Americans has battled weight problems most of his life. He

underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2002 and lost around 90 pounds.

But he lapsed into a coma after the operation and sued for

malpractice, eventually losing. His knee problem probably traces to

an accident in 2008 when one of his Notre Dame players ran into him

during a game and tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial

collateral ligament.

Just a few days before training camp opened, he said, ”a piece

of my knee fell off.”

Surgery will have to wait until the season is done. But it was

obvious the first weeks of camp that he was walking with great

difficulty, wearing a brace on the left knee and steadying himself

with a cane.

”The fact he’s willing to do the things he does and be here

every day to work is impressive,” said backup quarterback Brodie

Croyle. ”He’ll fight through whatever it is he needs to fight

through. And I think that’s the reason he has so much respect in

this league and in this locker room.”

Weis dismisses such talk.

”I appreciate the comments. But in reality, I don’t play,” he

said. ”You don’t get paid to play when you’re a coach. So if you

have some things physically that you have to deal through, you’re

getting paid more for your mind than you are for any of that stuff.

That’s really not a big deal with me.”

Coach Todd Haley teases Weis about his bright red cart. Players

refer to his ”Cadillac chair.”

But they do so with great respect.

”We don’t know how much he’s hurting because you never can

tell. He doesn’t show anything,” said Chambers. ”He wants the

same out of his players. A team usually takes on the identity of

their coach, and that’s his personality. He’s tough.”