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Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

KVA prep volleybal rankings, Sept. 24 -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS soccer falls at Great Bend -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS takes third at Salina South Invitational -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

No. 8 Washburn too much for Tigers -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Tiger defense continues to get stronger -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Two wins for TMP volleyball -9/24/2014, 10:27 AM

TMP soccer rolls to win -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Ventura dominates Indians as Royals push for postseason -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
'Mr. Reliable' Frankie Hammond Jr. steps up

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'Mr. Reliable' Frankie Hammond Jr. steps up

Published on -8/21/2014, 10:03 AM

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By Randy Covitz

McClatchy-Tribune

Frankie Hammond Jr. spent 18 weeks on the Chiefs practice squad last season and impersonated some of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

Dez Bryant one week ... DeSean Jackson the next. Victor Cruz one week ... Wes Welker the next.

This week, in the most important role of his career, he's Dwayne Bowe.

While Bowe has not practiced this week because of a quadriceps injury, Hammond has stepped into Bowe's flanker spot with the Chiefs starters and will be a prime target in Saturday night's preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings.

And if Hammond continues to perform as well as he did last Sunday at Carolina and on the practice fields of Missouri Western in training camp, he could play a key role in the regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 7, when Bowe has to serve a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

"Frankie is like Mr. Reliable," said Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. "All offseason, all training camp, every time he's out there, he knows what he's doing, he makes plays, and he showed it in camp and the last couple of games. When his number gets called, he's ready and beyond that.

"He's playing aggressive and cutting it loose. He knows all the (receiving) positions. We move him all around. I know in the quarterbacks room, he demands a lot of respect because of the way he goes about his business."

Hammond, who joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent from Florida last year, caught three passes for 57 yards on Sunday at Carolina, including a 33-yarder from Chase Daniel when he worked himself wide open down the sidelines.

A 51-yard catch and run on a pass from Aaron Murray was wiped out because of a holding penalty, but Hammond, who also ran track at Florida, showed he could cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

"I've been busting my tail off through training camp, just trying to do all the little things. It's good to see it finally pay off," said Hammond, still dripping wet from accepting an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge after practice on Wednesday.

"It felt good, just to finally be out there playing and letting the game come to you."

Hammond, 6-foot-1, 184 pounds, wasn't a prolific receiver at Florida but made big plays.

As a senior, he produced the Gators' longest and third-longest plays with a 75-yard catch at Tennessee and a 50-yarder against Bowling Green. As a junior, he caught but 15 passes, but 10 of them were for 10-plus yards and first downs.

Hammond was not invited to the NFL scouting combine, nor was he taken in the draft. But the Chiefs saw a receiver who could vertically stretch a defense.

After catching four passes for 37 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown grab against Green Bay in the final preseason game last year, Hammond failed to make the Chiefs 53-man roster and was signed to the practice squad. The club re-signed him as a free agent in January.

"Everybody's road is different," Hammond said. "You have guys who get drafted in the first round, and everything is smooth sailing. And you have guys who have to fight their way to the top. I'm embracing it and taking it all in. That's the road I had to take."

Spending the 2013 season on the practice squad gave Hammond the opportunity to improve his skills by imitating the best receivers in the league against the Chiefs starters.

"The practice squad gives you a chance to work on routes without being so cognizant of being wrong," Hammond said. "I can try different things on different routes and not have to worry about making a mistake. They could draw it up, and you run a corner route, but I can play with this and see what works and just develop.

"I kept diving into the playbook and understanding coach (Andy) Reid's offense and focusing on special teams as well."

Daniel quarterbacked the scout team last season and developed a rapport with Hammond.

"I got to experience firsthand the speed and playmaking ability he had, especially against our defense," Daniel said of Hammond. "He's making the most of his opportunities. You can see what he brings to the meetings, you can see the confidence he brings and the speed that he brings on the football field."

Still, will it be good enough? Though the Bowe situation will free up a spot on the 53-man roster for opening week, Hammond is still part of a free-for-all among at least six others fighting for roles behind Bowe and Donnie Avery.

"You never know what the roster is going to look like (for) Game 1," said Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson. "Frankie Hammond definitely put himself in a position to do some good things and (get) some more playing time."

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