KANSAS CITY, Mo. – New Chiefs cornerback Chris Owens said during Tuesday’s conference call with the Chiefs media that he visited the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But a decision to eventually sign a free-agent deal, a reported one-year, $800,000 contract, with the Chiefs came easy based on past ties.
“I took a visit there and I felt comfortable,” Owens said. “I know ET, (Chiefs defensive backs) coach Emmitt Thomas, from when he coached me at Atlanta. It was pretty much a no-brainer after that.”
How the Chiefs intend to use Owens, who is listed at 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, remains to be seen. He’s not the prototypical size normally associated with what the Chiefs under general manager John Dorsey prefers.
Nevertheless, what the 27-year-old pro brings is five years of playing experience from three NFL teams: Atlanta Falcons (2009-12), Miami Dolphins (2013) and Cleveland Browns (2013).
He’s appeared in appeared in 72 games with 14 starts on his career, totaling 150 tackles (33 solo), 3.5 sacks, 15 passes defensed, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
At initial glance, Owens could be viewed to fill the role Dunta Robinson was signed to perform last season before the Chiefs released Robinson this offseason following a disappointing campaign.
Regardless what’s in store, Owens is prepared to let the coaching staff decide where he fits.
“It’s only March now, so roles haven’t been defined yet,” Owens said. “I’m sure coach Andy Reid and (defensive coordinator) coach Bob Sutton are going to figure that out. They still have the draft, so it’s early right now. I just don’t know yet.”
Still, Owens’ versatility to play outside or defend inside against the opposing slot wide receiver bolsters depth in the defensive secondary.
And the Chiefs know Owens well from what he did in Week 8 of the 2013 regular season when the Browns visited Arrowhead Stadium.
Owens finished that game with three tackles, all against then-Chiefs slot receiver Dexter McCluster.
Asked if he had a preference of playing outside or inside, Owens said he wasn’t partial to either and could play whatever is asked of him.
“I just want to come in and do my job and help the defense when I’m asked (so we can) win ball games,” he said. “That’s what I did last year, as well as previous years in Atlanta.”
Owens comes to Kansas City having experienced the Arrowhead Stadium atmosphere on two occasions while wearing an opposing uniform.
In 2012, he visited the stadium as a member of the Falcons for the season opener, and last season while with the Browns.
Both visits left an impression on what it’s like to be on the opposing sideline, and Owens looks forward to wearing the home uniform.
“Man, those fans get loud,” Owens said. “I’m happy I’m on the other side of that intensity from the fans.
“When you’re a visiting team coming in there, you can’t hear much. It’s going to be fun and it’s going to be exciting. I can’t wait to play in that stadium as a member of the Chiefs.”