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
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
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
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.”