Recently reinstated Terry signs contract with KC

Updated: October 25, 2006, 8:53 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Still attempting to upgrade at offensive tackle, the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday took on yet another reclamation project, signing seventh-year veteran Chris Terry to a two-year contract.

Financial details were not immediately available.

Terry, who has not played in an NFL game since 2004, was released by Seattle in March 2005 after a series of off-field problems. His addition comes during the same week the Chiefs welcomed back tackle John Welbourn, who abruptly retired this spring after a repeat violation of the steroids and related substances policy.

That indiscretion, which Welbourn has refused to discuss, resulted in a six-game suspension. Once the suspension ended, technically after last Sunday's game against Pittsburgh, Welbourn unretired and began practicing with the Chiefs on Tuesday. The team has a two-week exemption during which Welbourn does not count against the roster, and he can use the time to get back into football shape.

ESPN.com reported Friday that Terry was quietly reinstated from the NFL's suspension list early last week, and that he was free to sign with any team and attempt to resume his once-promising career. It was not anticipated there would be much interest in Terry, or that he would find a new team so quickly, if ever. But the Chiefs moved quickly to contact him and get Terry signed.

How well the deal works out for the sides remains to be seen. Certainly bringing in Terry, who has a documented history of spousal abuse and substance abuse problems, is a gamble.

A second-round choice of Carolina in the 1999 draft, Terry was released by the Panthers, where he had been a starter for three-plus years, during the 2002 season. The Seahawks claimed Terry on waivers and he became their starter late in 2002. The team awarded him a five-year, $19 million contract after that season, but Terry was suspended for the first four games of 2003 because of a violation of the substance abuse policy.

He earned a subsequent suspension for a violation of the personal conduct policy because of a series of incidents involving altercations with his wife. Terry is said to have undergone extensive counseling during his hiatus from the league.

Terry, 31, becomes the latest veteran player added by the Chiefs since this summer, when perennial Pro Bowl tackle Willie Roaf retired. Kansas City signed former New Orleans and St. Louis tackle Kyle Turley, who sat out the past two seasons while trying to recover from chronic back problems. And then earlier this week, Welbourn returned from his league-imposed exile.

Turley started the first two games at left tackle, then his back problems flared up, and right tackle Jordan Black moved to the weak side to replace him. Third-year veteran Kevin Sampson then moved into the starting lineup at right tackle.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.