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Chiefs sign veteran offensive tackle Ray Willis

Posted Jul 31, 2012

Willis started 26 games for Seattle from 2005-09

St. Joseph, Mo. – The Chiefs signed veteran offensive tackle Ray Willis Tuesday afternoon.

Kansas City had been looking for help at offensive tackle after Tony Ugoh decided to retire on Monday.

 “I think that it wouldn’t hurt us to (sign a tackle) because I think that we’re in a similar situation at that tackle spot that we were in with the outside linebacker spot,” Crennel said during his Tuesday press conference.  “If you get one guy that goes down now, then you’re pretty thin. We’ll probably try to replace the position.”

Willis brings 44 games of NFL experience with him to Kansas City, including 26 starts. His career play-time is nearly identical to that of Ugoh, who signed with the team on July 26th. Willis joins the Chiefs after brief stops with the Miami Dolphins (2011), New Orleans Saints (2011) and New York Jets (2012). He was released by the Jets on June 28th.

A former fourth-round draft pick of Seattle in the 2005 NFL Draft, all of Willis’ NFL play-time came with the Seahawks from 2005-09. He hasn’t appeared in an NFL contest since 2009, though he started all 16 games for Seattle that year.

Willis will compete for time behind starters Branden Albert and Eric Winston. Ugoh had been working behind Albert and third-round draft pick Donald Stephenson before opting to retire.

“He just felt like it was best for he and his family if he retired,” Crennel said. “He retired from the game and there’s nothing we can do about that. You’ve got to have a desire and you’ve got to have your mind clear on all your problems and things out of the way to try to play this game. After talking with his wife and family, he decided that he was going to retire from the game, so he did that.”