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Huard beats out Croyle, to start for Chiefs


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Damon Huard, who has spent his career
backing up some of the NFL's top quarterbacks, is finally No. 1.
Coach Herm Edwards said Saturday the 11-year veteran will start for
the Kansas City Chiefs.

Huard hadn't started a game since 2000 but went 5-3 last season
after Trent Green was injured in the season opener. After Green
demanded a trade to Miami this spring because he thought coaches
planned to hand the job to Brodie Croyle, Huard spent the summer
battling the second-year player from Alabama for the job.

Croyle apparently played himself out of contention by throwing
an interception in each of three preseason games. Given a big
opportunity Thursday night against New Orleans while Huard sat out
with a calf injury, he hit only five of 17 passes for 45 yards as
the Chiefs lost 30-7 and dropped to 0-3.

In making the announcement, Edwards was careful to say that he
was confident the 24-year-old Croyle would one day be the Chiefs'
starting quarterback.

"Brodie Croyle in my mind is going to be a good quarterback in
this organization -- no doubt about it," Edwards said.

Opening with their first two games on the road, at Houston and
Chicago, apparently weighed in favor of the more experienced Huard,
who gained the respect of teammates in his eight starts a year ago.

"I just think we've exposed Brodie where we know what he is a
lot more than we did last year. We know what Damon is because he
has a history," Edwards said. "When you weigh those things, you
go into the opener and say, `Hey, we've got to try to win the
game.' In my opinion, this gives us the best chance."

Huard backed up Dan Marino in Miami and Tom Brady in New England
before coming to Kansas City in 2004. He was one of the league's
biggest surprises last year when Green sustained a severe
concussion in the season opener, winning five of his eight starts
while throwing for 1,684 yards. Most impressively, he threw only
one interception while hitting 11 touchdown passes for a 98.0
quarterback rating, second in the league only to Peyton Manning's
101.0.

"He's a guy who's weathered a lot of storms," Edwards said.
"And I go back to what he did last year for us. He came off the
bench and performed very, very well. He managed the game. Didn't
turn the ball over a lot. That is very important, especially on the
road."

Huard was getting treatment on his calf injury Saturday and was
not available for comment.

Croyle, a third-round pick in 2005, said he had his chance to
seize the job against the Saints.

"I think they were sitting there kind of waiting for me to go
do it, and I didn't do it," he said. "Therefore, they don't feel
I'm ready to go. And we'll just wait our turn."

Croyle said he and Huard were both told about the decision
Saturday morning before practice. Huard practiced very little and
may not play on Thursday night when the Chiefs wrap up their
preseason at St. Louis.

"Obviously, I wanted to be the starter," Croyle said. "It
didn't work out that way. But we'll get our shot at some point and
when we do, we'll make the most of it."

Edwards also said running back Larry Johnson, who ended a 25-day
holdout this week, may not play against the Rams on Thursday night.