Chiefs add Gardner after receivers net 69 yards in loss

Updated: September 11, 2006, 7:32 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

With their opening day loss confirming the Kansas City Chiefs' need for another veteran wide receiver, ESPN.com has learned that the team on Monday reached a contract agreement with Rod Gardner, who was released by the Green Bay Packers last week.

Rod Gardner
Gardner

Gardner, 28, will sign a three-year contract once he passes a team physical examination. The five-year veteran worked out last week for Kansas City coaches and club personnel officials and also had auditions with a few other teams. Financial details of the contract were not immediately available.

A first-round pick of the Washington Redskins in the 2001 draft, Gardner has been an itinerant player of late, and the Chiefs will be his fourth different team since the 2004 season. But if Gardner can quickly assimilate the Kansas City offense, and regain some of his previous form, he could add a possession and size dimension that is currently lacking in the Chiefs' passing attack.

The Kansas City wide receivers combined for only eight catches for 69 yards in Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. One factor, of course, was the head injury that knocked starting quarterback Trent Green from the game. But the top three Kansas City wideouts -- Eddie Kennison, Samie Parker and Dante Hall -- are all vertical receivers and Gardner might be able to add a different twist to the mix.

The former Clemson standout was the 15th overall selection in 2001 and, in his first three seasons with the Redskins, he averaged 58.7 catches, 782.3 yards and 5.7 touchdowns, solid numbers for a complementary No. 2 receiver. His most productive year was in 2002, when Gardner registered 71 receptions for 1,006 yards and eight touchdowns.

But a change in coaching staffs in Washington reduced his playing time and productivity and, in early '05, coach Joe Gibbs granted Gardner permission to seek a trade. The Redskins subsequently dealt Gardner to Carolina, but the Panthers released him in December and Green Bay claimed him on waivers.

In 12 combined appearances with the Panthers and Packers last season, Gardner had only 13 receptions for 151 yards and one touchdown. Clearly, though, there were teams in the past week interested in him, and the Chiefs are hopeful he can get his career back on track.

Gardner has 240 receptions for 3,148 yards and 23 touchdowns in 76 regular-season appearances.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.

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