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Crennel leads Chiefs through emotional time

Posted Dec 8, 2012

Former Browns coach Romeo Crennel led the Kansas City Chiefs to a victory over the Carolina Panthers one day after the loss of a teammate.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel led the team to a 27-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers at Arrowhead Stadium one day after the suicide of a teammate in the parking lot of that facility.

Crennel, the former coach of the Cleveland Browns, and the Chiefs’ front-office staff decided to play the game against the Panthers despite the emotional situation and his former players in Cleveland said he was the right man for the task of leading Kansas City through the loss.

“He’s a very steady, even-keel veteran,” said left tackle Joe Thomas. “He’s been around the league a million years. People respect him. He’s a guy that’s a fatherly figure to everybody. They look up to him and he’s definitely the ideal person to have in that position steering that ship.”

Wide receiver Joshua Cribbs added, “Romeo is a great guy, on and off the field. He’s a great motivator, tells good stories, knows how to get the guys rallied up and I’m sure he will do an awesome job. He’s done an awesome job so far.”

In watching the game film from the Chiefs’ win over the Panthers, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson saw a Kansas City team that played hard to pull out its second win of the season. They also know the Chiefs will carry that momentum into Sunday’s game at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

“Whether you agree or disagree with them playing the game, you could tell that they went out there on a mission to play football,” Weeden said. “They played extremely well and you could tell the passion they were playing with. When something happens like that, it’s tough. It’s going to be in the back of your mind all day long, regardless, but to take three hours out to get your mind off of it, I think it may be therapeutic. Fortunately, we have that to be able to do that, whereas the families may not.”

Richardson added, “I know it’s going to be an emotional game for them. They can ride that and they can come out here and be a team that can’t be stopped. We’ve got to do everything that we can and try to stop them. They’ll try to bring everything on us on defense, so from an offensive standpoint, we’ve got to put up points.”

The Chiefs attended memorial services throughout the week, but maintained their practice and meeting schedules in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Browns. Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he is expecting the Chiefs to be “ready to play” when they run through the visitor’s tunnel.

“I respect him a great deal,” Shurmur said of Crennel. “Everybody that does know him thinks he’s an outstanding human being, a great man. He’s obviously distinguished himself as an outstanding coach. That’s what I know about him. In situations like this, your character becomes revealed. Romeo revealed that he’s an outstanding leader.

“A lot of what we do as coaches is lead, inspire and try to lead our guys through situations that are not always ideal. I don’t know if anybody’s going to finish the season undefeated and so, when there are losses involved and you’re pushing and trying to build and develop, we all know there’s tough days. How do you inspire your guys to push through those tough days? That’s a lot of what we, as coaches, are responsible for.”

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