AFC West: Jeff Allen

Some options for the Chiefs' OL

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
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The NFL’s free-agent signing period begins Tuesday. Though teams have been able to talk with the representatives of prospective free agents since Saturday, no contracts can be signed until Tuesday.

Once that moment arrives, it shouldn’t take long for the Kansas City Chiefs to lose their left tackle of their last six seasons, Branden Albert. He reportedly will sign with the Miami Dolphins shortly after the signing period begins.

The Chiefs have two other free agent offensive linemen who could strike a deal with another club. Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah shared the starting right guard spot last season and one or both could depart as well. Though Albert is a Pro Bowler and plays a premium position, it would hurt the Chiefs more to lose Schwartz and Asamoah than Albert. The Chiefs began preparing for the eventuality they would lose Albert from the day they drafted Eric Fisher with the first overall choice last year. The Chiefs have Fisher and Donald Stephenson to play tackle and they believe both will soon develop into high-quality players.

The Chiefs don’t have that kind of depth in the middle of their line. In center Rodney Hudson and left guard Jeff Allen they have two young players in the same category as Fisher and Stephenson. But the rest of their offensive linemen are in the developmental category.

If the Chiefs lose Schwartz or Asamoah or both, they could turn to the draft to replace them. The Chiefs have the 23rd pick, but that’s their only selection among the top 86. They traded their second-round pick to San Francisco in last year’s deal that brought quarterback Alex Smith. One of the best guards is Stanford’s David Yankey. The Chiefs could plug him in as their right guard from the start. One problem with using a rookie there is that the Chiefs already have a young offensive line. If the Chiefs lose Albert, Asamoah and Schwartz, Stephenson becomes the oldest of their linemen and he doesn’t turn 26 until September. Hudson, with three years of experience, is the eldest of the group in that regard.

Free agency is another option for the Chiefs. The problem there is that, according to Pro Football Focus, Schwartz and Asamoah are the best available free-agent guards. PFF has them rated 1 and 2, so the Chiefs would be taking a step or two backward no matter whom they sign, in theory at least.

The Chiefs could also promote into the starting lineup one of the developmental linemen on their roster. They have three: Eric Kush, Rishaw Johnson and Rokevious Watkins. The Chiefs got a peek at all three when they started the final regular-season game last year in San Diego. Each had a negative grade in the game, according to PFF’s system. Watkins particularly struggled with his pass blocking and Kush his run blocking. Johnson distinguished himself in neither area.

One of them could wind up in the Chiefs’ starting lineup next season. Those chances increase if the Chiefs fail to re-sign either Asamoah or Schwartz.
Pro Football Focus has an interesting story ranking the top free agent guards and the Kansas City Chiefs have the top two on the list in Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah. That sets up an interesting decision for the Chiefs on which one to re-sign.

Asamoah
Schwartz
The easy answer is to bring them both back. That would give the Chiefs a solid middle three to their offensive line, including center Rodney Hudson. Since Schwartz and Asamoah shared the right guard spot last season, the Chiefs could switch one (probably Schwartz) to the left side and move Jeff Allen to a backup spot.

The problem with this is that the Chiefs won't have unlimited funds to solve the problem. Schwartz and Asamoah will want to be starters next season and will want to be paid like a starter. So re-signing both players will require a financial commitment from the Chiefs that may not be in their best interests, particularly when they have Allen available to play one of those spots.

It's a tough call for the Chiefs. Asamoah will turn 26 this summer, Schwartz 28. Schwartz has the versatility to also play right tackle if that's what the Chiefs need him to do. As PFF notes, Schwartz is the better run blocker, Asamoah the superior pass protector. That would seem to give Asamoah the edge to Andy Reid and his pass-heavy offense.

Then again, the Chiefs opted for Schwartz over Asamoah last season. Asamoah began the season as the starter at right guard but missed a game in late November against San Diego because of a shoulder injury. Schwartz played so well the Chiefs kept him in the lineup for the rest of the season, leaving Asamoah on the bench. And don't forget that the offense began to make its move at the time Schwartz was put into the lineup, though it's difficult to make the direct connection between the events.

Either way, the Chiefs would be keeping a good player and a valuable offensive lineman. They would be losing one, too.

This is beyond Chiefs' wildest dreams

December, 15, 2013
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videoOAKLAND, Calif. -- Their season will ultimately be defined by what happens in the next few weeks and whether the Kansas City Chiefs can win a playoff game for the first time in 20 years.

But it was validated Sunday in the oddest of places, in a building the Chiefs have always considered a monument to everything evil. It was here, in the basement of the Oakland Coliseum, that the Chiefs celebrated their return to the postseason.

With two games left in the regular season, the Chiefs clinched nothing worse than a wild-card playoff spot by beating the Oakland Raiders 56-31. At 11-3, they pulled into a tie with the Denver Broncos for first place in the AFC West and would win the division championship by picking up a game in the standings on the Broncos over the next two weeks.

That’s a concern for next week and beyond. For one afternoon, the Chiefs were content with their stunning achievement. They had come from a very bad place -- they were a league-worst 2-14 last year and endured the murder-suicide involving teammate Jovan Belcher -- and still managed to thrive. The unexpected thing is that it hardly took any time at all.

"You can’t really explain it in words," said linebacker Derrick Johnson, the longest tenured Chiefs player. He is playing for his fifth head coach in Andy Reid and, until this season, was mainly known around the league for being a great player stuck with some bad teams.

"We’re a humble group," Johnson said. "Last year was a year we wouldn’t wish upon any team, on or off the field. But it’s just gratifying how we’ve grown in the short time, with the new [coaches] coming in."

The big move, of course, was the hiring of Reid as Kansas City’s coach. It looks now like a no-brainer, but the move carried some risk. Reid looked burned out after 14 sometimes difficult seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and endured last year’s death of his son Garrett.

Reid was so energized by his move to Kansas City that he looks like a first-year head coach.

Other major steps followed, all accompanied by danger. The Chiefs hired longtime Green Bay Packers scouting college director John Dorsey, giving him the job as general manager for the first time. They traded for quarterback Alex Smith, who was benched last season with the San Francisco 49ers.

"I don’t know if it validates everything I’ve done, but I’m so pleased to see it come together like it has," said Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, who hired Reid and Dorsey and approved the trade for Smith. "It hasn’t all been easy. We went through a three-game stretch where we didn’t win a game. It was tough. The guys knew Andy had been there and he had done it. They maintained their confidence and continued to let him lead and as a result we’re sitting here today in the playoffs."

As if the Chiefs needed a reminder of how far they’ve come in one season, there’s also this: They played their annual game in Oakland on this very weekend in the middle of December 2012.

They were shut out, losing when Oakland scored just five field goals. On Sunday, the Chiefs played like they encountered little resistance. Their 56 points is the most they’ve ever scored against the Raiders no matter where the game was played.

"It’s pretty tough to put into perspective," guard Jeff Allen said. "It’s actually amazing. It’s unbelievable. We all believed that we could do it but for it actually to happen is indescribable."

From the outside, that can be difficult to believe. Even at 2-14, the Chiefs were talented. They sent six of their players to last season’s Pro Bowl.

So they didn’t feel this would be a rebuilding season.

"Early this year we saw Andy taking over the team in [offseason practices] and later in training camp," Hunt said. "It was clear to me the process was moving faster than I had anticipated. I had no idea where it would finish."

To the Chiefs, that’s the great thing. They still don’t know when or where it will finish. They just know it won’t end with the final regular season game in two weeks against the Chargers in San Diego.

This journey will continue into January and perhaps beyond. If the Chiefs are being honest, they will tell you that part is beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Judging from the latest count of fan voting, the Kansas City Chiefs will again have a bunch of players headed to the Pro Bowl.

Tackle Branden Albert, nose tackle Dontari Poe, outside linebacker Tamba Hali and punter Dustin Colquitt lead the balloting at their respective positions. Running back Jamaal Charles, guard Jeff Allen and safety Eric Berry are second at their positions.

Poe, Berry and Charles, who leads the AFC with 1,011 rushing yards, certainly deserve Pro Bowl recognition. Hali is tied for 11th in the league with nine sacks. Only three linebackers have more, one being his injured teammate Justin Houston, who has 11.

Colquitt doesn't have quite the numbers he had last season, when he made the Pro Bowl for the first time. But he still leads the NFL with 31 punts downed inside the 20. Don't underestimate how important that's been for a 9-3 team that relies on advantageous field position.

As for those not in the top two at their positions who might deserve recognition, how about Houston, who is fourth in the league in sacks?

Then there's Derrick Johnson, who has made two straight trips to the Pro Bowl but in my mind still doesn't get the recognition he's due. Johnson doesn't pile up the stats voters often look for (interceptions, sacks, fumbles), but he is as solid an inside linebacker as there is in the league.

Locker Room Buzz: Kansas City Chiefs

October, 27, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Observed in the locker room after the Kansas City Chiefs' 23-17 win over the Cleveland Browns:

Reid
Momentum changer: Coach Andy Reid had no regrets about having Ryan Succop try a 52-yard field goal late in the second quarter, with the Chiefs ahead 13-0. Succop’s kick was long enough, but slightly wide to the left. It took Cleveland just two plays to use the resulting favorable field position to score its first touchdown to cut the deficit to 13-7. “He had been bombing those [kicks] before the game,’’ Reid said.

Home run hitter: Former Kansas City Royals infielder George Brett, a Hall of Famer, was in attendance. He grabbed a drumstick and beat on a big bass drum on the field shortly before kickoff to help fire up the fans at Arrowhead Stadium. “George Brett looked like he can still swing,’’ Reid said. “It was great to see him out there. I know he’s a big football fan.’’

Rookie mistake: Guard Jeff Allen had to wait for rookie tackle Eric Fisher to finish his postgame Q&A session with the media because it was conducted right in front of Allen’s locker. Asked whether Fisher’s move was worthy of a fine, Allen said, “It definitely is.’’

Friday's Chiefs practice report

October, 18, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs could have their entire roster available to them in Sunday's game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium. Starting free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis and was listed on their injury report as having a 50-50 chance to play.

The other 12 players on their report were listed as probable. That includes cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee). Both were listed as being limited practice participants on Friday.

Everyone else on their injury report was listed as a full practice participant: wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), offensive linemen Branden Albert (knee/elbow), Jon Asamoah (knee) and Jeff Allen (groin/hand), nose tackle Dontari Poe (ankle), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee), tight end Kevin Brock (shoulder), linebacker Dezman Moses (toe) and defensive lineman Jaye Howard (non-injury related).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie defensive back Sanders Commings, who has been on the Kansas City Chiefs' injured-reserve list all season, practiced for the first time on Wednesday.

The promotion of Commings, a fifth-round draft pick from Georgia, to the active roster, appears inevitable, with the only question being the timing of the move. Commings was a nickel safety for the Chiefs during offseason practice and would have challenged for playing time had he not broken his collarbone during the first practice at training camp.

The Chiefs are deep in the secondary, with the emergence of rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper and veteran safeties Quintin Demps and Husain Abdullah, but the return of Commings would provide even more security at the back end of their defense.

Starting tight end Anthony Fasano, who has missed the last four games because of knee and ankle injuries, returned to practice on a limited basis and said that barring a setback he would play Sunday against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium.

The only player who did not practice was starting free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle). The only other player who was limited in practice was cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee).

The Chiefs listed nine players as full practice participants: tackle Branden Albert (knee/elbow), nose tackle Dontari Poe (ankle), guard Jeff Allen (groin/hand), guard Jon Asamoah (knee), wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), tight end Kevin Brock (shoulder), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee) and linebacker Dezman Moses (toe).

Friday's Chiefs practice report

October, 11, 2013
10/11/13
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs ended the suspense with outside linebacker Justin Houston, listing him on their injury report as probable to play in Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Joseph
Houston
Houston, hit in the head and neck area in last week's game against Tennessee, missed practice Wednesday as the Chiefs put him through the NFL's concussion protocol. He returned to practice on a limited basis on Thursday and was a full practice participant on Friday.

Houston is second in the NFL with 8.5 sacks.

But cornerback Brandon Flowers, who missed a game against the New York Giants two weeks ago because of a sore knee, injured the other knee in practice and was listed as having a 50-50 chance to play against the Raiders.

Another starter, free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) practiced for the first time this week and was also listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Tight ends Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee) and Travis Kelce (knee) did not practice all week. Fasano is listed as doubtful, and while Kelce will not play.

The Chiefs have nine other players on their injury report, and all were listed as likely to play: running back Jamaal Charles (toes), wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee), tackle Eric Fisher (concussion), guard Jeff Allen (groin), tight end Sean McGrath (knee), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz (triceps), and linebacker Dezman Moses (toe).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs had 12 names on their injury report, so things are looking up for them in that category. They listed 14 players last week.

Four starters did not practice: linebacker Justin Houston (possible concussion), running back Jamaal Charles (toes), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee/ankle) and free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle). Backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee) also did not practice. Kelce, who had arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday, will not play Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Two other regulars were listed as being limited participants in practice: wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder) and punter Dustin Colquitt (knee).

Tackle Eric Fisher, who missed last week's game against the New York Giants because of a concussion, was a full practice participant. Others listed as full participants: guard Jeff Allen (groin), tight end Sean McGrath (knee), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz (triceps).
ChiefsAP Photo/Wade PayneKansas City scored the final 13 points Sunday -- all in the fourth quarter -- to remain unbeaten.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Just as the postgame celebration was in full swing in the Kansas City Chiefs’ locker room, it hit a momentary lull. Guard Jeff Allen punctuated the brief silence by saying, to no one in particular, "We own the fourth quarter."

Nobody can dispute it. The Chiefs have built their 5-0 record by dominating in the fourth quarter, and that was certainly true in Sunday’s 26-17 win over the Tennessee Titans, in which Kansas City scored the game’s final 13 points.

In the first four games, the fourth quarter was about protecting a lead. This time, it was about overcoming a deficit. The Chiefs had no reason to believe they would, not after the offense sputtered to just two field goals in the first three periods, and certainly not after quarterback Alex Smith threw a horrible interception in the third quarter that the Titans converted into their go-ahead touchdown.

The Chiefs had owned the fourth quarter before, but this one looked like it would belong to their opponent. Mainly through force of will, perhaps forged through those other successful fourth quarters, the Chiefs dug themselves from the muck.

Smith led the Chiefs on a touchdown drive to put the team back on top, and then the defense intercepted a pair of passes to snuff Tennessee’s comeback hopes.

It started with the gritty touchdown drive. Smith, fresh off his interception, completed his final five passes on the possession. The Titans helped with a pair of penalties, including a questionable late hit on Smith that allowed the Chiefs to continue the drive.

Asked how he could have, at that point, believed in his offense, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, “The eyes I’m looking into are positive eyes. Alex, he wants the ball back. He knows it’s just a matter of time before it kicks in. The offensive line was that way. Dwayne Bowe was constant energy throughout the game.

"That was my picture. That’s what I was looking at."

It can be easy to forget now, with the Chiefs being one of just three remaining unbeaten teams, but their offense achieved little the past two seasons, and while Reid has set a positive tone, Smith is the only significant new playing piece.

So much of this newfound will comes from their quarterback. This was the first time since joining the Chiefs that he had the outcome of a game resting with him, and everyone was more than a little curious to see how he would handle the situation.

"The players are all looking at him," Reid said. “They’re looking at him every snap. That’s their leader out there, and so if you’re wavering at all or you don’t have the right look in your eye, these guys can sense that. They can tell. So how you present yourself is huge.

"He’s a tenacious competitor, that kid. I love that. I love that part of him."

Smith is hardly a rookie. He’d been in such situations when he was the starter for the San Francisco 49ers. He had a history of leading his team from behind in the fourth quarter, having done it six times in 2011.

"You get in those situations enough as a quarterback," Smith said. “I feel like I have played in a lot of tight games over the years, and with eight minutes or 10 minutes left in the fourth, you don’t press. You just kind of focus in that much more, and you bring the guys in that much more and you know you’re only one play away."

This was the first time he had tried it with the Chiefs. In front of a large and loud Tennessee crowd, they made it work. That will count for a lot the next time the Chiefs are confronted with a similar situation.

"No question it helps," Smith said. "This was a first for us this year: being down in the fourth quarter and having to have a game-winning drive, and we were able to put it together. These are great experiences to have, especially being together for the first time. Great experiences to build on."

The Chiefs appear headed for many new experiences. With five wins, they’ve already topped their total in four of the previous six seasons. Their 5-0 start is second best in club history, behind a 9-0 start in 2003.

More importantly, by rallying Sunday, they set themselves up to continue their run. They will play their next three games at Arrowhead Stadium, against the Raiders, Texans and Browns before they head to Buffalo to face the Bills.

It’s not unreasonable to think they could be 9-0 in mid-November when they travel to Denver for their first of two meetings with the Broncos.

If they get to that point, it would undoubtedly be due to their ability to close games with a flourish.

"That’s the time of the game where the team that’s mentally tough wins the game," Allen said. "Everybody’s tired, but you’ve got to push through. We’ve got guys on this team who do a great job of finishing games. Usually, it’s the team that finishes that wins."

Friday's Chiefs practice report

October, 4, 2013
10/04/13
4:35
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For having 14 players, including 10 regulars, on this week's injury report, the Kansas City Chiefs look like they will be in decent shape for Sunday's game at Tennessee. The only players who have already been ruled out are two rookies, starting right tackle Eric Fisher (concussion) and backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee).

Three starters are listed as questionable to play on Sunday: cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee), free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee). Flowers didn't play in last week's game against the New York Giants, but said after practice that he was far ahead physically from where he was at this point last week and that he would play against Tennessee.

Nine players are listed as probable to play in Sunday's game, including running back Jamaal Charles (blisters on his feet). The problem was so severe early in the week that Charles had to miss practice on Wednesday. But Charles, like Flowers, said he would play against the Titans.

The others listed as probable include five regulars: guards Jeff Allen (groin) and Jon Asamoah (knee), center Rodney Hudson (shin), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and punter Dustin Colquitt (knee). Also listed as probable are tight end Sean McGrath (knee), cornerback Marcus Cooper (knee/thigh) and linebacker James-Michael Johnson (thumb).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs won’t be the team without their starting quarterback on Sunday when they meet the Titans in Nashville, Tenn., but they should have an extensive injury list during preparations this week.

The most pressing issue is the sore knee that caused starting cornerback Brandon Flowers to miss the Chiefs’ 31-7 win over the New York Giants. Coach Andy Reid said Flowers still has inflammation of the knee, so his practice week, at the least, could again be disrupted.

Veteran Dunta Robinson started the game as Flowers’ replacement but he yielded a 69-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz. Rookie Marcus Cooper then replaced Robinson and played well, but over the long haul Flowers is one of the Chiefs’ best defensive players.

Rookie offensive tackle Eric Fisher left the Giants game late in the first half after receiving a concussion. He was replaced by Donald Stephenson. The Chiefs will similarly monitor Fisher’s progress throughout the week.

“When you look at it, he got hit more in the shoulder area than he did the head,’’ Reid said. “He didn’t take that direct blow to the head, which is a good thing. I think that will end up being a plus for him going forward.’’

Among other injured players, running back Jamaal Charles has what Reid called “very extensive” blisters on his feet and punter Dustin Colquitt has a sprained knee. Both players were able to finish the game and should be ready to play in Nashville.

Two other starters, tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle) and guard Jeff Allen (groin), did not play against the Giants and it may be at least another week until either player is ready for a game.

The 3-1 Titans will be without quarterback Jake Locker, who injured his hip in a win over the New York Jets. He will be replaced by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Four starters are listed as questionable on the Kansas City Chiefs injury report for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee), free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle), guard Jeff Allen (groin) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle) are the players listed as questionable.

Flowers played on a sore knee in last week's game in Philadelphia, but aggravated the injury in the game. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday but did not practice on Friday. Lewis, Allen and Fasano were listed as being limited practice participants Friday.

Backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee) did not practice and will not play against the Giants.

Listed as probable for the Giants game and full practice participants on Friday were three starters: tackle Branden Albert (shoulder), defensive end Mike DeVito (neck) and fullback Anthony Sherman (knee). Backup linebacker Frank Zombo was also listed as probable for the game after participating fully in practice.

Thursday's Chiefs practice report

September, 26, 2013
9/26/13
5:35
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Starting cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee) and free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) returned to practice for the Kansas City Chiefs, though on a limited basis. The Chiefs also listed on their injury report two other starters, offensive tackle Branden Albert (shoulder) and defensive end Mike DeVito (neck), as being limited practice participants.

Otherwise, their injury report remained the same. Two starters, tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle) and guard Jeff Allen (groin) did not practice, increasing the likelihood they won't be available for Sunday's game against the New York Giants at Arrowhead Stadium. Backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee) also did not practice.

The other two players on the injury report, fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (elbow), were listed as full practice participants.

Wednesday's Chiefs practice report

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
5:45
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KANSAS CITY , Mo. -- The practice week began in earnest for the Kansas City Chiefs with five players, including four starters, not working. Cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee), free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle), guard Jeff Allen (groin) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle) were the starters who did not practice.

Dunta Robinson was starting in Flowers' spot. Quintin Demps filled in for Lewis, Geoff Schwartz for Allen and Sean McGrath for Fasano.

The fifth player who did not practice was backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee).

Two other starters, tackle Branden Albert (shoulder) and defensive end Mike DeVito, were listed on the injury report as being limited practice participants. Fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (elbow) were listed as full participants.

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