Kansas City Chiefs approach Ryan Lilja about returning in 2013


Ryan Lilja said he was planning to retire, but the Chiefs have approached him about returning for at least another season.

The Kansas City Chiefs approached Ryan Lilja about returning for another season despite the offensive lineman saying he planned to retire following the 2012 season.

The Chiefs have some uncertainty along the interior of their offensive line and the 31-year-old Lilja could at least provide some depth. Lilja started 15 games for the Chiefs last season, shifting to center after starting center Ryan Hudson broke his leg early in the season. Hudson should regain his starting position next season, but is still a question mark coming off a major injury.

Lilja's return would also add to the Chiefs' guard depth. Lilja played guard the first eight seasons of his career. Right guard Jon Asamoah played well last season, but Kansas City does have a hole at left guard. Jeff Allen, a second-round pick in 2012, started 13 games at left guard last season but struggled. Allen could develop into a quality starter, but again, Lilja would give the Chiefs some insurance in case Allen struggles again.

Kansas City is also transitioning to a new coaching staff, a process that typically results in more than a few roster changes. One or more of the current players may not fit the scheme of the new coaching staff. If Lilja does, he could provide a solid short-term replacement until the organization is able to find younger replacements.

According to the Kansas City Star, Lilja was receptive to the idea of returning, even after saying he was unlikely to do so.

"Physically, you hit a wall and your body kind of tells you to start thinking about it,'' Lilja said at the end of the season, in the Kansas City Star. "I wanted to be in a place where I was at peace with my decision and could move forward and never regret it. I'm there.''

Lilja spent the previous three seasons with the Chiefs after six seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He's currently an unrestricted free agent.

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