Andre Rison, who came to town with a troublemaker's reputation but led his team in receiving and was voted its MVP, has signed a four-year extension that probably keeps him in Kansas City for the rest of his career.
"I know a lot of people would have given up if they were in my shoes. A lot of people would have quit," said the nine-year veteran, who caught 72 passes for 1,092 yards and was named to his fifth Pro Bowl.
"But I'm not a quitter."
Rison was signed to a two-year deal last year after being released by Green Bay, for whom he had caught a touchdown pass in the 1997 Super Bowl.
"This is bigger than winning the Super Bowl at Green Bay," he said Friday. "I don't think I was part of that family. I'm a part of this family and that's what makes me feel good."
The Chiefs also said Friday they had signed kick returner/running back Tamarick Vanover to a three-year extension. Vanover, 24, already holds Chiefs records with 3,257 kickoff return yards and four kickoff return touchdowns.
Rison, 31, went to four straight Pro Bowls beginning in 1990 with Atlanta. But when the Chiefs signed him prior to the 1997 season, he had played for four different teams in two seasons and was branded by many as a clubhouse problem.
But he was a model citizen during the Chiefs' 13-3 regular season and caught seven touchdown passes, the most by any Chief in four years.
"He came to us last year and found a home in Kansas City and we were able to work out an agreement for a four-year extension," said Chiefs president Carl Peterson.
"This gives the opportunity for Andre to finish his career in Kansas City. I think everyone's going to be thrilled with this. This is a great addition for the Chiefs' family going forward."
Rison's 72 catches were the second-most ever by a Chief. He and first-year quarterback Elvis Grbac developed an undeniable chemistry.
"This organization put their front foot forward and gave me an opportunity to play," Rison said.
"And not only that, they made me feel good about respecting me as a person. That's the biggest thing I received since I've been here."
If he plays through the contract, he will be 36.
"It's a great place to finish your career," Rison said. "I've just seen a Hall-of-Famer finish his career here, Marcus Allen, and I'm trying to follow in his footsteps."
Rison said he knows the Chiefs are going into the 1998 season with fans expecting great things. There even has been talk of a perfect season.
"Who knows? Maybe we can go 16-0. Maybe we can't," said Rison. "But we'll try. That's the best thing I love about this team. We do believe. Any time you've got an organization that believes and every year goes out and tries to have a successful season, that's someone you love o play for, and play with."
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