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Chiefs rookie McCluster running through shoes
ST. JOSEPH, MO. (AP) - He starts. He stops. He weaves, twists, dashes and darts.
Dexter McCluster is hard on tacklers and murder on footwear. Twice since Kansas City drafted the diminutive rookie wide receiver, those churning little feet have actually caused his shoes to start coming apart.
He says it happened once at Mississippi, where the 5-7, 170-pounder rushed for 1,955 yards and added another 1,703 in receiving as he became a first team all-SEC player. It’s happening more often now, including once this week as the second-round draft pick made one of those quick cuts that have already made him a fan favorite.
“The bottom came out this time,” he said. “It was kind of flapping on me a little bit. But they got me a new pair and I was ready to go.”
Broken shoes? That’s a new one.
“He’s running out of his shoes,” said veteran wide receiver Chris Chambers. “I’d never seen it. That’s a new thing.”
Coaches are working overtime trying to figure out where to use their electrifying rookie and how many touches his slight frame can handle. So far, they’ve been looking at him as a kick returner, wide receiver and quarterback in the wildcat formation _ he threw 27-yard touchdown pass in college.
Another possibility is running back. But they’re also concerned about giving him too big a work load.
“I don’t feel I’m going to wear down. I want to be ready whenever he calls my number,” McCluster said.
He made one eye-popping play on Wednesday, catching the ball on one sideline, then dodging and weaving past would-be tacklers all the way to the corner of the other end zone. The play covered perhaps 40 yards but McCluster _ with the crowd yelling “Dexter, Dexter, Dexter!” _ probably ran 90.
Everyone except him seemed to be huffing and puffing. He looked like he was having the time of his life.
“My game is quickness. My game is speed,” he said. “Wherever the coach wants to utilize that, that’s how it’s going to be.”
He and rookie cornerback Javier Arenas are fighting to be the kick returner. Arenas might have the edge since he was the full-time returner at Alabama and McCluster, because he did so many other things for Ole Miss, had only two punt returns as a senior.
“We are going to work them, we are going to watch them, we are going to evaluate them and then we’re going to figure out who gives the best chance and whatever that situation is and then go that direction,” said coach Todd Haley. “But me as a head coach, I’m excited about possibilities, potential.”
Because of his size, the Chiefs are certain to use McCluster carefully.
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