Ashley Lelie Compared to Eddie KennisonAugust 18th, 2009 by Lee Eldridge
My first thought when I heard that the Chiefs had signed Ashley Lelie was not overly positive. After a good start to his career, Lelie really fell off the map. I remember wanting him to be drafted by the Chiefs out of college, and was disappointed when Denver got him. But his numbers the last few years have been poor. Then again, he was playing for the Raiders last year.
And then I started thinking about Eddie Kennison. Eddie played in the league for five-and-a-half years before making his way to Kansas City. He was drafted in the first round by the St. Louis Rams in 1996, the 18th overall pick. Eddie was 6-1, 201 pounds and a speedster. He played in St. Louis for three years before getting traded to the Saints for a year. Then after a coaching change he was traded to the Bears, where he lasted for another year. The Broncos signed him in 2001, but cut him halfway through the season after Eddie confessed to coach Shanahan that his heart was no longer in the game. If I remember correctly, his wife had a very difficult delivery of their daughter, and both were in the hospital at the time. The Chiefs signed him mid-season as Trent Green and Dick Vermeil were both struggling their first year in Kansas City.
Here’s a look at Kennison’s numbers before coming to Kansas City:
1996 with the Rams: 54 receptions, 924 yards, 9TDs
1997 with the Rams: 25 receptions, 404 yards, 0 TDs
1998 with the Rams: 17 receptions, 234 yards, 1 TD
1999 with the Saints: 61 receptions, 835 yards, 4 TDs
2000 with the Bears: 55 receptions, 549 yards, 2 TDs
2001 with the Broncos (half season): 15 receptions, 169 yards, 1TD
In comparison, Ashley Lelie was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos in 2002, the 19th overall pick. Ashley is 6-3, 195 pounds and a speedster. He’s played in the league for seven years: four in Denver, then a year each in Atlanta, San Francisco and Oakland. Here are his numbers:
2002 with the Broncos: 35 receptions, 525 yards, 2TDs
2003 with the Broncos: 37 receptions, 628 yards, 2 TDs
2004 with the Broncos: 54 receptions, 1,084 yards, 7 TDs
2005 with the Broncos: 42 receptions, 770 yards, 1 TD
2006 with the Falcons: 28 receptions, 430 yards, 1 TD
2007 with the 49ers: 10 receptions, 115 yards, 0 TDs
2008 with the Raiders: 11 receptions, 197 yards, 2 TDs
When Kennison came to Kansas City, he gave the Chiefs something they hadn’t had in years. A legitimate threat at wide receiver. While not a superstar, Eddie had finally grown up and had become a very dependable and effective receiver for the Chiefs. Here are his numbers in Kansas City:
2001 (5 games): 16 receptions, 322 yards, 0 TDs
2002: 53 receptions, 906 yards, 2 TDs
2003: 56 receptions, 853 yards, 5 TDs
2004: 62 receptions, 1,086 yards, 8 TDs
2005: 68 receptions, 1,102 yards, 5 TDs
2006: 53 receptions, 860 yards, 5 TDs
2007: 13 receptions, 101 yards, 0 TDs
Eddie signed with the Rams for 2008, but had no receptions.
Now I’m not predicting that Lelie will do for the Chiefs what Kennison did for Kansas City. But the similarities are at least intriguing. Here’s hoping that magic can strike twice.