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Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 6/15

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Good morning and welcome to Arrowheadlines. We have your Kansas City Chiefs news gathered here from all over the internet. Players are practicing (without coaches) and dealing is getting done. Am I the only one that smells football this fall?

Locked out by their owner Clark Hunt and the rest of the NFL owners, the Chiefs players are staging their own mini-camp this week in Kansas City.

Word on the player grapevine has anywhere from 30 to 40 players taking part in Tuesday’s first practice. They will go again on Wednesday and Thursday.

Players Mini-Camp Starts from Bob Gretz

On Monday, Pope traveled to Kansas City to work out with several of his Chiefs teammates. Not only did he have to replace his waterlogged phone upon reaching Kansas City, but he also learned about the area’s painful history with another Chiefs player who tried to save drowning children.

Pope said that before this week, he had never heard the story of Joe Delaney, the 24-year-old star Chiefs running back who acted on instinct, too. Delaney couldn’t swim when, in June 1983, he jumped into a pond in Monroe, La., trying to save three children who had drifted too deep.

Chiefs' Pope is Georgia Boy's Saving Grace from KC Star

This is KCChiefs.com’s All-Underrated Chiefs Team from the last five years – not from a national set of eyes, but from a local perspective. Players are eligible as long as they played in a game from 2006-2010. We’ve selected one player at each position and some of the selections might surprise you.

Let’s start with the offense.

All-Underrated Team: Chiefs Offense from The Mothership

This is KCChiefs.com’s All-Underrated Chiefs Team from the last five years – not from a national set of eyes, but from a local perspective. Players are eligible as long as they played in a game from 2006-2010. We’ve selected one player at each position and some of the selections might surprise you...

...it’s time to unveil the defensive unit.

All-Underrated Team: Chiefs Defense from The Mothership

But championships aren’t won with Pro Bowl invites or Player of the Week honors. It takes the effort of an entire roster to produce the best single-season turnaround in franchise history. The Chiefs 2010 AFC West Championship roster was lined with unsung heroes - possibly none more so than TE Leonard Pope.

"No disrespect to any of the other guys but I don’t know if there is a guy that cares more about this team than Leonard Pope," Head Coach Todd Haley said during the 2010 season.

Pope's Heroism Not Surprising from The Mothership

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened but suddenly, at some point this spring, the Kansas City Chiefs packed a few more options on their defensive line that could pay huge dividends in 2011 and beyond.

The thought of having too many weapons on the defensive line seems a bit hard to believe for any Chiefs fan. But the emphasis on drafting and developing defensive lineman over the past several years is finally giving the team a surplus of options.

In-Depth Charts: Chiefs Defensive Line from Warpaint Illustrated

If the fine folks at Football Outsiders have anything to do with it, the AFC West would adopt this slogan: Welcome to the AFC West, where we choke in the postseason.

In the latest installment of their ESPN.com Insider series, the Football Outsiders look at the 10 biggest playoff disappointments of the past 25 years.

The Home of the Playoff Chokers? from ESPN

Those who know Fickell best have a pretty good idea what it won't be: soft.

"We're three days before the Rose Bowl (on New Year's Day), which we hadn't been to in a lot of years, and Luke tears his pectoral muscle," said Mike Vrabel, current Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and then Fickell's teammate at Ohio State. "He goes out and plays 65 snaps three days later. He doesn't say a word about it to anybody.

What Kind of Coach Will Luke Fickell Be? from FS Ohio

Now, what did surprise me about these rankings is the guy Richard replaced in 2010, Ryan Lilja, was ranked as the 11th worst pass blocking guard in football. That, to me, is shocking because Lilja (who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs after the Colts cut him in 2010) had an outstanding year last season. Many felt he should have gone to the Pro Bowl.

Jeff Saturday and Kyle DeVan Can Pass Block, Jamey Richard Can't from Stampede Blue

One source with intimate knowledge of the discussions tells me negotiations are 80-85 percent complete. They've made such fast progress, I'm told, it's catching many of the principals by surprise. Some are now canceling vacations, believing an agreement will be reached within a matter of days.

Basically, it seems, we continue to move solidly into that threshold where a season will be played, not if one will be played. Again, barring the knucklehead factor.

NFL Source: Labor Negotiations 80-85 Percent Complete from CBS Sports