Chiefs Have A Tinge Of Purple

Kelly Gregg, Le’Ron McClain and Jared Gaither will be returning to M&T Bank Stadium.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, August 18th, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Months after being dealt a 30-7 beating in the Wild Card playoffs, the Kansas City Chiefs seemed to take a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality.

Kansas City rolled out the red carpet for three Ravens free agents: defensive tackle Kelly Gregg, fullback Le’Ron McClain and offensive tackle Jared Gaither. They also brought in quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, who spent last year in Baltimore.

The Ravens and Chiefs have never faced each other in the preseason, but when they do Friday night at M&T Bank Stadium, it will be a homecoming of sorts.

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Ravens Ready to Face Old Teammates

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“I think it is a compliment to those guys and to the [Ravens] organization,” Harbaugh said of the Chiefs signing the former Ravens.

“[They're] three guys that we just had here, and thought we had a chance – maybe to keep here as recently as two weeks ago – and now you’re playing against them. So, that’ll be kind of an odd thing.”

Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley told The Kansas City Star that it was just a coincidence that his team added so many Ravens after being beat by them in the postseason.

“Now, again, if you’re able to acquire players that you think can fit with what you’re doing, and they’re coming from teams that are winning-type teams, I think that’s a good thing,” he added.

McClain said his toughness was refined in Baltimore.

“That’s the mentality we’re going to have coming out here to KC: just being physical and being that demon on that field, just doing whatever we’ve got to do,” McClain said.

“I don’t think they’re trying to take anything from Baltimore or bring this over here; we’re Kansas City Chiefs, not Baltimore Ravens.”

Gregg spent nearly his entire career in Baltimore. He was a stalwart on the Ravens’ front line for a decade, amassing 509 tackles, 19.5 sacks and the nickname of “Buddy Lee.”

McClain was drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He quickly became Baltimore’s lead blocker and a standout runner in 2008 when he rumbled for 902 yards and 10 touchdowns.

More Familiar Faces To Come

This won’t be the last time the Ravens face some of their teammates from last year this season.

In their third preseason game against the Washington Redskins, Baltimore will face cornerback Josh Wilson, wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth and guard/center Chris Chester.

The Ravens will line up opposite wide receiver Derrick Mason in Week 4 against the Jets. In Week 7, they’ll see safety Dawan Landry in Jacksonville, and in Week 8 tight end Todd Heap and the Cardinals will come to M&T Bank Stadium.

Gaither, whom the Ravens took a chance on as a supplemental draft pick in 2007, was Baltimore’s starting left tackle in 2008 and 2009 before sitting out last year due to injury.

So what’s it going to be like going against former teammates so fresh after their departure?

“I’ve been blocking [Gregg] for five years. It’s not going to be any different,” Ravens guard Ben Grubbs said. “He’s going to be talking and I’m sure I’ll be laughing. It’s going to be fun.”

Linebacker Jarret Johnson said he’s probably hit McClain more than any other fullback in the league over the past four years in practice. So from that aspect, there’s nothing new.

But he does expect a little extra physicality.

“It’s kind of like fighting a brother,” Johnson said. “You’re definitely not going to back off any.”

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