KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -For the third time in two weeks, a key player for the Kansas City Chiefs will be attending the funeral of a loved one the day before a game.
Kolby Smith, slated to be the starting running back against Tennessee on Sunday, will be in Florida on Saturday for services for his grandfather.
On the day before the Chiefs played Denver last week, linebacker Derrick Johnson attended services for his father and right tackle Chris Terry was at the funeral for his mother. Both made it to Denver just in time for the game.
``Nobody can really explain why it's happening, but it just seems like that's the way it's going this year,'' said Gilbert Harris, who was elevated from the practice squad two weeks ago to back up Smith. ``It's tough.''
In every instance, coach Herm Edwards has told the players they could be excused from the game if they wished. But Smith, like Johnson and Terry, assured Edwards that he will be back in time to play.
``It speaks highly of who they are and what they're about,'' Edwards said.
Smith is planning to fly back on Saturday night to Kansas City for what will be the Chiefs' last home game.
``I'm good,'' Smith said Wednesday. ``He's going to a better place now. So I'm good. I'm going home Saturday and I'll come back that evening.''
In the meantime, the Chiefs (4-9) changed their routine a bit in an effort to change their luck. A 41-7 blowout loss on Sunday in Denver was their sixth loss in a row and was their worst effort in more than a year.
Edwards had everybody come in and view the film and do a walkthrough before practice. They play Tennessee this week in their final home game.
``It's just a bit of a change, nothing major,'' Edwards said.
On Tuesday, Edwards said in a testy exchange with reporters that he should be assigned all the blame for the disappointing season, which has included several key injuries. Then a few minutes later he was contradicted by general manager Carl Peterson, who insisted that he, not the coach, ought to be the one who takes the blame.
On Wednesday, team captain Brian Waters merely laughed when told that his coach and GM were each trying to take all the blame for what could turn out to be Kansas City's worst season in 20 years.
``Everybody's got their part in it,'' said the Pro Bowl left guard. ``We all know that part of their job as general manager and head coach is they have to take responsibility for the overall team. They're the ones who put this team together, they're the ones who control how we practice, different things like that. But realistically, the players are the ones who have to take responsibility for the real results on the football field.
``In a situation like this, believe me, there's plenty of blame to go around. But I think instead of blaming people, we all have to be responsible for our particular part in what's going wrong.''
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