KANSAS CITY, Mo. The last time Chiefs guard Ryan Lilja had to play center in an NFL game before last Sunday was...well...never.
In fact, Lilja, who now becomes the Chiefs' starting center because of Rodney Hudson's season-ending injury, can't remember playing the position in college or high school or even Pee Wee football, for that matter.
OK, there was that one time he played center...in junior-high basketball.
It's going to be different, no doubt, Lilja said Wednesday. Nerve-wrecking isn't the right term. I'm not freaking out. But when you play a certain position so long as I have at guard, there are things you don't have to think about. And now you do. It's not second nature to me to play center. I'm running things through my head that I never have before.
But I've been taking a lot of snaps in the spring and summer. That's been the contingency plan and I feel I'm ready.
Lilja's audition couldn't have gone much better last Sunday against the Saints. After Hudson went down i...