Todd Haley’s dismissal as Chiefs head coach might have been bitter, but he’s made peace with his time in Kansas City during 2009-12.
“I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL in Kansas City,” said Haley, in his third year as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator. “It was a great experience for me and my family. I had great relationships with the players and coaches. I’m very proud of the things myself, the players and coaches were able to accomplish.”
The Chiefs went 19-26 under Haley, including 10-6 in 2010 when they won the AFC West.
“It was always an electric atmosphere in Arrowhead, and the fans were great,” Haley said. “With the way things worked out, I was able to truly come home to Pittsburgh.”
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Haley’s father, Dick, was the personnel director for the Steelers during 1971-91 when the franchise won four Super Bowls.
“My dad showed me the ropes, so to speak,” Haley said. “It’s been great being able to come back to really where it all started. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Staying with Gafford
Though the Chiefs signed long snapper Charley Hughlett to the practice squad this week, the job still belongs to veteran Thomas Gafford.
Gafford was not on target with two snaps that led to field goal misses by Cairo Santos, but the Chiefs do not plan to make any roster moves.
“The timing of it seems like we’re trying to put the pressure on Gafford,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said, “but really, we’re looking at a future guy, a possible guy we can have for training camp and for the offseason. We brought him in about two months ago, worked him out, liked him, and this gives us a situation to look at him again.”
Gafford, whose will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, delivered what Toub called “inside snaps” on the two misses.
“It all starts there. It starts with the snap,” Toub said. “The holds were good. That just throws it off a little bit. Just the timing … (Santos) has to slow down a little bit, and sometimes he feels he needs to speed up when he doesn’t see a perfect snap. … He hits the ball not like he wants to hit it.
“We have to make sure everything is perfect, especially with a rookie kicker. We have to be consistent.”
Still, Toub said Santos, who missed from 44 and 47 yards, needs to be able to make adjustments when snaps or holds aren’t perfect.
“We held him accountable, too,” Toub said of Santos, who had made 14 straight before a first-quarter miss. “We didn’t make an excuse for him because of the snap. He was still able to see the ball. He needs to make that kick, too. An NFL kicker has to make that kick. But being that it’s his rookie year, we need to give him every opportunity to be successful. The veterans need to do that.”
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and defensive lineman Jaye Howard did not practice on Thursday because of illnesses, and outside linebacker Tamba Hali did not practice because of knee soreness.
The Steelers said safety Troy Polamalu (knee), tight end Matt Spaeth (elbow) and wide receiver Markus Wheaton (illness) did not practice.
Faking the fake
The Chiefs called a fake punt during the second quarter of last Sunday’s game against Oakland, but Dustin Colquitt elected not to pass the ball when his eligible receivers didn’t respond to the play. Colquitt avoided a rusher and punted the ball to the Raiders 6.
“It was a look (to pass), we felt we had the look, but not everybody felt like we had the look,” Toub said. “Dustin thought we had the look and came out throwing. … With Dustin’s experience, he was able to see it, boom, get the ball down (to kick) and get it out and get it down to the 6. That was pretty impressive.”