Ryan Lilja had never played a meaningful game at center, unless you count the sixth grade - in basketball. But that's exactly where the Kansas City Chiefs veteran found himself last Sunday.
More accustomed to playing guard, Lilja performed flawlessly in delivering snaps to quarterback Matt Cassel when second-year pro Rodney Hudson went down with an injury. In fact, Lilja played so well that he could be the starting center for the remainder of the year.
The Chiefs put Hudson on injured reserve Wednesday with a broken bone in his left leg, and even though they signed offensive linemen Russ Hochstein and Bryan Mattison to provide depth, coach Romeo Crennel said the plan is to move forward with Lilja in the middle of the line.
''Lilja was, to me, the hero of the game, a guy who's never done a snap in a real game,'' said Cassel, who helped lead Kansas City to an overtime victory that may well have saved its season.
Lilja played offensive tackle in high school, and moved to guard in c...