AFC West: Al Wilson

Yahoo Sports reported the New Orleans Saints gave running back Reggie Bush permission to talk to other teams prior to the lockout.

None of the teams listed as potential suitors are from the AFC West. I know there has been some speculation that Bush could resurface in his hometown of San Diego, especially with Darren Sproles likely leaving as a free agent. Still, I’m not sure the Chargers would want to pay Bush a premium deal. If he gave San Diego a hometown discount, perhaps it would be interested. But it looks like he will have other options.

In other AFC West nuggets Friday afternoon:

Kansas City tight end Leonard Pope talked to Michael Irvin on his radio show about his experience saving a 6-year-old from drowning last weekend in his Georgia hometown.

“You don’t get but one life,” Pope told Irvin. “You can lose a championship and you can lose a Super Bowl or whatever, but you have a chance to repeat that the following year. A life, you don’t. You don’t get but one. You don’t get a chance to repeat another life.”

Pope sounds like a man who gets it.

In an interview with a Denver radio station, Broncos’ receiver Brandon Lloyd said he was pleased with his recent workout session with second-season quarterback Tim Tebow in Jacksonville. Lloyd was impressed by Tebow’s progress.

“I thought it was good,” Lloyd said. “It’s better for morale going into the season when you see how good of shape guys are in. It’s kind of like, I want to see where dude’s at with his training and guys want to see where we’re at so we have some confidence going into the season. That’s how I took it. It was good to see that Tim’s improving on his drops, he’s improving on his timing, and within the first day we got into rhythm, within the first 20 minutes of it.”

Former Denver middle linebacker Al Wilson lost a negligence suit he filed against a doctor while playing for the Broncos.

In an piece, Jeffri Chadida looks at Nnamdi Asomugha’s value as a free agent. Here’s a hint: It’s high.
We held our AFC West chat earlier Thursday. Here are some highlights:


Lynn from Denver: You said the Broncos expect Moore and Carter to start...does that mean Brian Dawkins is a backup this year? If that’s the case I hope this (Nate) Irving kid has a little Al Wilson swagger as a leader.

Bill Williamson: If the Broncos bring back Dawkins, and that's the plan, I'm sure they will have a role for him, but they want to get younger. I haven't seen Irving play like. But I'll tell you this. He'd have to have a lot of swagger to have Al Wilson swagger. Wilson was great in his prime.

Kansas City

David H. from Nashville: your blog. I believe the key to success starts at QB. Do you think Matt Cassel is good enough to lead the Chiefs to the next level? The way the season ended last year really concerns me.

BW: I think he needs to get better, but I think he is capable of it. He is a hard worker who is smart and who desires to do well. I love the weapons around him.


Matt from Santa Barbara: What are the odds Zach Miller leaves Oakland?

BW: It all depends on how the new CBA reads. But I'd be shocked if Miller ever plays an NFL down outside a Raiders' uniform. He's just a Raider to me.

San Diego

Nathan from DC: Will the Chargers defense change much? Do you expect much of a drop-off? The Bears sure seemed to miss Rivera when he left.

BW: New DC Greg Manusky is a former San Diego coach and he knows the players and the system. I think they'll be fine, especially with a playmaker like Corey Liuget joining the mix.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

As part of our all-decade week, our Football Outsiders put together a list of the overrated and underrated players of the decade. Here is a look at some of the listed players who played in the AFC West:


3. Chris Chambers, San Diego
My take:
Chambers has been hurt a lot for San Diego. I don't know if he belongs this high on the list.

9. Dante Hall, Kansas City
My take:
Sure, hall has his shortcomings, but he was a brilliant returner while with the Chiefs. This is a little harsh.

10. DeAngelo Hall, Oakland
My take:
I think he should be much higher on the list. He was exposed in his short Oakland stint.

24. Travis Henry, Denver
My take:
I really don't think the troubled Henry was overrated. I just thought he was a waste of talent.

25. All Denver punters
My take:
Can't argue. What would Shane Lechler be like in the Mile High City?


2. Matt Lepsis, Denver
My take:
I covered Lepsis for four seasons. He was very underrated. He was a terrific player in his prime.

12. Al Wilson, Denver
My take:
At first, I was surprised to see Wilson's name on the underrated list. I thought he was a recognized player. But the fact that Denver's defense has been a disaster since his 2006 career-ending neck injury is a point well taken.

25. Trent Green, Kansas City
My take:
Green was hurt often, but he was, indeed, an effective player when healthy.

Posted by's Bill Williamson's all-decade top-25 player list is top heavy with players from the AFC West.

Only three players on the list spent a major portion of their careers in the division, but they're all in the top 10. It was the only division to boast three of the top-10 players. They are running back LaDainian Tomlinson at No. 3 (San Diego), cornerback Champ Bailey at No. 6 (Denver) and tight end Tony Gonzalez at No. 10 (Kansas City).

Tomlinson was the highest ranked nonquarterback on the list. Bailey was the highest ranked cornerback and the second-highest ranked defensive player on the list and Gonzalez was the only tight end on the list.

San Diego tight end Antonio Gates, Kansas City guard Will Shields, Denver linebacker Al Wilson and Denver safety John Lynch were all near misses on the top 25 list.

What are your thoughts on the AFC West's influence on the list?

AFC West news and notes

November, 3, 2008
Posted by's Bill Williamson

Around the AFC West:

The word is that weakside linebacker D.J. Williams might be out 3-4 weeks with an MCL injury. More information is expected Tuesday. But Denver put two players -- running backs Michael Pittman and Andre Hall -- on the injured reserve list Monday and likely would have done the same with Williams had it been a more serious injury.

Denver is expected to add a couple of players to the 53-man roster Tuesday morning. It wouldn't be a surprise to see running back P.J. Pope promoted from the practice squad. The team will surely add a running back.

The word is the team is quietly satisfied with the ruling in their favor in the Al Wilson medical grievance.

Kansas City
The Chiefs were looking at running backs as well Monday. It wouldn't be a surprise if they add some players, including a running back as early as Tuesday. Kolby Smith is out for the year after suffering a knee injury Sunday.

Meanwhile, it looks like standout linebacker Derrick Johnson may not play Sunday at San Diego.

Rookie tailback Darren McFadden is still day-to-day with a turf toe injury that kept him out the last two games. This thing may drag out longer.

The name of former Oakland coach Lane Kiffin has been connected to the pending coaching opening at Tennessee as well as at Washington and Clemson. The rumblings around the league is that Kiffin, despite a 5-15 record, is being helped by the fact that Oakland has nosedived after he was fired. Even though Oakland was 1-3 under Kiffin, they were competing hard. Under interim head coach Tom Cable, the Raiders are 1-3 and have been outscored 87-13 in their losses under Cable.

San Diego
Pro Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie continued to rest his hip Monday in the Charegrs' first post-bye practice.

Wilson was a tough leader in Denver

September, 10, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

 Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire
 Al Wilson finished his career with 712 tackles and 21.5 sacks.

Al Wilson officially called it a career Wednesday. But the beginning of the end for the former Denver Broncos middle linebacker and defensive captain came on Dec. 3, 2006.

In what was supposed to be remembered as the fist start of Jay Cutler's NFL career, I remember it as the beginning of Wilson's retirement.

Wilson was taken off the field on a stretcher after a violent collision with a teammate. He lay motionless for several minutes. The Invesco Field at Mile High crowd began to chant his name. Wilson was a fan favorite.

After Wilson was taken to a local hospital, the Seahawks made a furious comeback against Denver's shell-shocked teammates, who were clearly shaken by Wilson's injury.

He suffered a neck injury, but in typical Wilson form, the former amateur boxing champion was back at practice three days later and finished the season.

Still, there was a toll from the injury. He was going to be traded to the New York Giants the next spring but the deal was scuttled when he failed a physical. He missed the entire 2007 season. Wilson was cleared to play this year and he had a couple of workouts. But Wilson ultimately decided that his long-term health wasn't worth risking.

While Wilson has been gone from the league nearly two years, his formal departure needs to be noted with respect. This was an intense, fiery leader on the field. In his prime, Wilson was one of the nastiest linebackers in the league. Off the field, Wilson was down to earth and friendly. He'd talk to you all day long and it didn't have to be football.

I covered Wilson for three seasons in Denver. He goes down as one my favorites players I covered, in any city, any sport.

Posted by's Bill Williamson


The Denver Broncos have seen too may linebackers being taken off the field on a backboard. In December 2006, team captain Al Wilson was taken off on a stretcher during a home game against Seattle. Last year in training camp, linebacker Warrick Holdman was taken off on a stretcher at practice.

Wilson came back to finish the season, but he suffered a neck injury that has kept him out of the league since. He has been cleared to play but he has not signed. Holdman has not played since his injury.

Once again, Denver had that the ugly scene Saturday night when backup linebacker and special teams standout Louis Green had to be taken off the field. There was good news after the game as Green was walking around Denver's locker room and he flew home with the team. He will be monitored.

Also, Denver starting strong side linebacker Boss Bailey will miss a few weeks with a sprained ankle.

Al Wilson
Posted by's Bill Williamson

Al Wilson's grievance against his former team, the Denver Broncos, is inching toward a conclusion. The post-hearing briefs in the grievance, which were heard in March, are due Tuesday.

An independent arbitrator will make a final decision within 45 days of receiving the briefs. Wilson, a former Pro Bowl linebacker and team captain for the Broncos, is using article XLIV of the CBA to claim the team failed to properly handle his neck injury in December 2006.

Wilson suffered a serious neck injury against Seattle on Dec. 3, 2006. He was removed from the field on a stretcher after being temporarily paralyzed and was hospitalized for several hours. Wilson came back and played in Denver's final three games.

However, three months later, Wilson failed a physical for the New York Giants, nixing a trade from Denver to New York. Wilson is seeking up to $7.5 million from Denver for lost wages for the 2007 season. Wilson, 31, remains unsure if he wants to resume his career.