KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -Football figures to be a lonely experience for Jared Allen the next couple of weeks.
Kansas City's suspended defensive end can be on the practice field, but only by himself.
And he'll be no different from millions of other football fans who are watching the action but wishing they could strap on the pads and play.
``It'll be tough,'' Allen said, ``because nobody loves playing football more than me.''
While the rest of the Chiefs are running through plays and getting ready for their season opener at Houston on Sunday, Allen, according to terms of his suspension for multiple drunken-driving arrests, must not be anywhere around.
He's allowed to attend team meetings but not practice.
He can work out with strength and conditioning coaches and use team facilities the next two weeks. But he can't travel with the team or stay at the team hotel when the Chiefs go to Houston and Chicago for the first two games.
Before and after each game, he's barred from the locker room.
It could be worse - much worse - for both Allen and the Chiefs. His off-field misplays first drew a four-game suspension. But taking everyone by surprise, including Allen and team officials, commissioner Roger Goodell rewarded the player's improved behavior and vow to stay sober by slicing the penalty in half.
``He's the only suspended player in the NFL that had his suspension reduced,'' said Chiefs president Carl Peterson. ``As of this week, there were 19 players who had been suspended by the commissioner for this year and I think Jared Allen's is the only two-game suspension.''
Allen, at the Chiefs' urging, will be at every team meeting during his two-week suspension.
``I'm going to prepare as if I'm starting Week 1,'' he said. ``My routine for the next two weeks isn't going to be any different than it absolutely has to be. I'm going to treat these next two weeks as though I'm preparing to play.''
The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder led the NFL with six fumble recoveries last year and shows all the signs of a young player about to break into stardom. With 27 1/2 sacks his first three seasons, he's already in Kansas City's all-time top 10. He came into camp this year trimmed down and in top condition, and his production showed it.
``I feel great. I'm in a rhythm right now,'' he said. ``I really wish I didn't have to miss these two games. I think I've been playing well. The key for me is going to be to keep my workout regime as close to practice as I can make it. I'll be lifting weights, running. Then when it comes gametime, it'll just be like I tweaked my ankle or something and had to miss the game. Then I'll be ready to go for the home opener against Minnesota.
``It would have been so different if it'd been four games.''
Kansas City will be counting on two players to take up the slack these first two weeks. Jimmy Wilkerson, a fifth-year man, will start. Rookie Turk McBride will also figure prominently in the rotation.
``This is an excellent opportunity for Jimmy Wilkerson,'' said coach Herm Edwards.
Wilkerson had his best training camp in five years and led the Chiefs with three preseason sacks.
``I'm definitely excited,'' he said. ``When you get an opportunity to go out there and start for a game, that just adds more excitement on top of what you're doing.''
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