Raiders wideout Rison returns to Arrowhead

Thursday, October 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ In this age of free agency, it's not unusual for a player to come back and have a chance to prove a point to a team that gave up on him.

But Andre Rison is an unusual person. His old teammates in Kansas City were as intrigued as any fan at the prospect of an angry Andre taking the field for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium.

``Andre felt when he left here he had something to prove,'' said free safety Jerome Woods. ``I'm sure he'll be up to his old tricks. He'll be at the top of his game. ''

Rison, who had five catches for 83 yards last week in Oakland's 34-28 overtime victory over San Francisco, tried to downplay his return.

``Just another game, baby, '' he said. ``I just know that when you're in first place all the games are big games.''

Rison came to camp last summer as energetic and well conditioned as any player in sight. Spinning tales of dawn-to-dusk workouts in a remote fitness camp in Central America, the trouble-prone wide receiver seemed determined to make, at 33, what would amount to a third career comeback.

But then, unexpectedly, the Chiefs cut him. They said it was simply because they wanted to get younger at the position, and pointed to rookie Sylvester Morris.

But others wondered if Rison's off-field problems had something to do with it. He was involved in a barroom scuffle just before training camp ended. And in Kansas City, he still is facing legal troubles over bad check charges and about $1,000 in recording equipment he rented, but allegedly did not return.

With Oakland, Rison made an immediate impact, helping the Raiders get off to a 5-1 start and seize first place in the AFC West.

The Chiefs (3-2) are keenly aware he still has the ability to hurt them.

``When he left here he thought the Chiefs thought he'd lost a step,'' said Woods. ``He wants to show everybody he's still an All-Pro receiver.''

He he lost a step?

``He never did,'' Woods said. ``But being released can add some pep to your step. Andre is a trick player. Out on the practice field he's a tough guy to cover. He's going to add a little more gasoline to the fire. He's going to be ready.''

Rison insisted he's not concerned what kind of reception he might get.

``I don't care,'' he said. ``I've got a job to do. That's what I'm going to do. I worked so hard in the offseason, and got my head right, got to put all this hogwash behind me, and concentrate on football. That's what I said I was going to do and that's what I'm doing. ''

If they can stop Rison and the rest of the Raiders, including quarterback Rich Gannon, another former Kansas Citian, the Chiefs will win their fourth in a row and move into a first-place tie with the Raiders.

Besides, it's Raiders week in Kansas City. The long and heated rivalry did not cool down one bit when Gunther Cunningham became Chiefs head coach. A former Oakland assistant, he left the Raiders after clashing with owner Al Davis.

``Gun always make a big point about it every time we play,'' said Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards. ``It's very personal to him and to this organization.''

Adding even more fuel to the fire is the overtime victory the Raiders pulled off in Kansas City last year, coming back from a 17-point deficit to knock the Chiefs out of the playoffs.

For both teams, the trick may be to cool the passions.

``I'm sure Andre doesn't want to go in there and flop around and not play well,'' said Gannon. ``He's got a great deal of pride. But we don't want to put any pressure on him.''