Chiefs see potential in new receiver Bradley


The Kansas City Star

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Ronald Martinez
Former Oklahoma receiver Mark Bradley is expected to get some playing time for the Chiefs on Sunday against the Titans. He started his NFL career with the Bears.
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When Brodie Croyle returned to practice weeks ago, he immediately took notice of the new wide receiver setting himself apart from the pack.
Mark Bradley is fast and making big catches down the field in practice, two items in short supply from the other candidates vying to be Dwayne Bowe’s receiving partner.
“He’s got good speed and runs really good routes,” Croyle said. “He’s had pretty good hands so far. It’s kind of tough to see why Chicago got rid of him. We’re all kind of scratching our heads wondering why you’d get rid of a guy like that.”
The receiver-thin Chiefs could eventually be even more thankful the Bears released Bradley early in the season. Bradley will get his first playing time with the Chiefs on Sunday when they play against Tennessee at Arrowhead Stadium.
They are most hopeful Bradley can do what Devard Darling, Will Franklin and Jeff Webb haven’t: give the Chiefs another legitimate receiving option in addition to Bowe and Tony Gonzalez.
“Defenses key on Tony and they key on Bowe, so we really need to find some alternatives,” said Croyle’s backup, Damon Huard. “It would be nice to spread the ball to other playmakers. He could be the one. He’s pretty smooth and has some nice deceptive speed.”
The Chiefs first noticed Bradley when he was in college at Oklahoma. They brought him in for a visit before the 2005 draft and probably would have selected Bradley had they not sent their second-round pick that year to Miami in exchange for cornerback Patrick Surtain.
Bradley went to the Bears instead in the second round. His rookie season got off to a promising start when Bradley caught 18 passes in his first seven games.
He then tore knee ligaments, and though Bradley returned for the next season, the Bears had largely moved on without him. His playing time decreased until it was almost none early in this season.
That’s when Chicago finally gave up on him.
“I anticipated it before it happened, so it wasn’t a big shock to me,” Bradley said. “Other people might look at something like that as a negative. I look at what happened as a positive. There are many guys in this league who don’t finish their career or become the player they can be with the team that drafted them. They have to go to another team before that happens.
“I don’t know why it happens that way, but that’s the way it is. It’s a fresh start for me, and I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to making a lot of plays for the Chiefs instead of the Bears.”