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SURTAIN SENT PACKING TO CHIEFS

For three straight years, one of the NFL's greatest offenses has been chained to one of the worst defenses, a snorting, high-strung race horse hooked to a milk wagon.

Now, with the acquisition of two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain in a deal with the Miami Dolphins, the defensively inept Kansas City Chiefs have completed a three-pronged plan to revamp and retool even before the NFL draft starts today.

"I've always said that players win games, and obviously we're pleased to have added four quality players to our defense," head coach Dick Vermeil said Friday.

Surtain, 28, agreed to a seven-year deal Friday, and the Chiefs agreed to give Miami their second-round pick in exchange for the man whose 25 interceptions the past three years led the league. Kansas City also moved up nine places in the fifth round by switching spots with the Dolphins. Already on board as free agent signees were inside linebacker Kendrell Bell, safety Sammy Knight and pass-rush specialist Carlos Hall.

"I think we have four guys who will come in and make an immediate impact on us getting better," Vermeil said. "Probably at least three or four will start. It will also create competition with the people who are already here and make them even better."

The 5-foot-11, 192-pounder will play on the right side opposite Eric Warfield, who has been the only consistent performer in a secondary that was continuously torched for three straight years.

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