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Printers, Croyle Battle For Shot At Being Chiefs QB Of The Future

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By DOUG TUCKER
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- One's been injury-prone. The other has hardly had so much as a hangnail. One has quick feet and great escapability, on the order of a Donovan McNabb.

One is a rifle-armed dropback passer with great football pedigree.

And one, if things work out the way Herman Edwards hopes, is Kansas City's quarterback of the future.

That's what Casey Printers and Brodie Croyle are hoping, too, as they hurriedly compete head-to-head during a rookie minicamp that's certain to be their best chance to create a favorable impression.

The seemingly indestructible Trent Green hasn't missed a start in five years while quarterbacking the most productive offense in the NFL. But he's 36 now and may not have more than a couple of years left.

His backup, Damon Huard, is a veteran but not the sort of quarterback franchises are built around.

That leaves the door wide open for a young, developing talent to position himself as the Chiefs' next starter.

Two days into minicamp, Edwards says he likes what he sees.

"Both of them have shown they've got live arms and can make plays, especially when the play breaks down," Edwards said Saturday.

The contrast between the two could not be more vivid.

Printers, who spent most of his college career at TCU, had a breakout season in 2004 with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL when he threw for 5,088 yards and 35 touchdowns and also ran for 469 yards and nine scores. He looks like he's at his best when he's on the run -- a skill that seems to be drawing greater and greater admiration in the NFL.

Croyle's passing arm is the more powerful. Taken in the third round of the NFL draft last month, he's the son of a defensive end for Bear Bryant's Alabama teams in the early 1970s and holds many of the Crimson Tide's passing records. He has the advantage of stepping into a system that is not unlike the one he knew in college.

But durability is a worry. He missed almost the entire season in 2004 with torn knee ligaments and has also battled other injuries.

So the fight is on. They know their snaps will drop drastically next week when the veterans join the rookies for a full minicamp and then later in training camp in July and August.

"We just have to make our impression now," said Croyle.

Oddly, one of the first instructions they were given as this intense competition began was not to regard each other as competitors.

"They basically said help each other out," Croyle said. "Trent's going to be the man. He's going to start until he gets tired of starting. So we have a little time to learn. From everything I heard, (Green) is a great guy to learn behind. He's very outgoing. He's probably going to get tired of hearing all my questions, but I'm going to ask them."

Printers' advantage is the experience he gained in Canada.

"We know we're going to make mistakes," Printers said. "The bottom line is that we come out, learn from our mistakes and keep growing."

Croyle's not counting on his strong arm to win a job.

"At this level, everybody can throw," he said.

"Everybody is hopefully smart and can learn stuff. If not, they're not going to be around. I think it's more intangibles you can bring to a team -- leadership. That stems straight from being poised and having toughness. If you've got those two, you can talk anybody into following you."

Printers signed as a free agent with the Chiefs on Jan. 13 after three years in the CFL, intent on following his idol Warren Moon, who followed a stint in Canada with a standout NFL career.

"My expectation is whenever I get the opportunity to play, to go in there and be productive and to make things happen and give this team a spark," he said. "Whenever that opportunity presents itself, I'll be ready."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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