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Associated Press

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 6:32 AM

CHIEFS-UNSUNG HEROES

Chiefs relying on cast of misfits during dream run

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles make the headlines for the Kansas City Chiefs and rightfully so. The quarterback and running back are the biggest names on one of the NFL's surprise teams.

However, it's been a cast of misfits that has fueled the Chiefs' run toward the playoffs.

Take safety Quintin Demps, who three years ago was playing in the UFL. Not only does he have three interceptions, he also returned a kickoff for a touchdown last Sunday against Washington.

Or try Sean McGrath, who was plucked off waivers before the season. The former Henderson State — yes, Henderson State — standout has been the team's most reliable tight end.

Big names? Surely not. But they've been the unsung heroes leading a dramatic turnaround.

RAMS-AUSTIN

Rams WR Austin, DB Jenkins held out of practice

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Rams rookie receiver Tavon Austin and cornerback Janoris Jenkins sat out practice Wednesday.

Austin injured his left ankle when he was tackled on a 56-yard run in the second half of the Rams' loss at Arizona on Sunday. Jenkins, the team's top cornerback, was listed Wednesday as having a back injury.

Cornerback Brandon McGee (foot) and running back Daryl Richardson (thigh) also were held out. Both were inactive against the Cardinals.

Richardson began the year as the starter, but has missed the last five games. He previously had been sidelined with a foot injury.

RAMS-CLEMENS

Rams backup Clemens taking hard knocks

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missing starting quarterback Sam Bradford, the St. Louis Rams' offense has suffered.

Kellen Clemens' best quality might be toughness.

Clemens is set to make his seventh start as Bradford's stand-in Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Clemens has been banged around plenty, but hasn't missed a snap.

The Rams were 3-4 with Bradford, recuperating from left knee surgery. They're 2-4 without the first overall pick of the 2010 draft and have totaled 23 points the last two weeks against a pair of the NFL's top defenses.

Clemens was sacked four times last week at Arizona, most notably a blindside hit from Karlos Dansby in the fourth quarter that left him woozy. Clemens was sacked three times the previous week at San Francisco.

CARDINALS-CASTRO

Cardinals sign RHP Angel Castro

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals added pitching depth to their organization, signing right-hander Angel Castro to a one-year contract.

The 31-year-old Castro is 4-3 with a 1.29 ERA in eight starts for Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League and the Cardinals had spots open on their 40-man roster. He has spent seven seasons in the minors since being drafted by Detroit in 2006 and also played in the Mexican League in 2010-11 and Japanese Pacific League in 2012. He has not pitched in the majors.

Last year, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Castro was 8-5 with a 3.48 ERA for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque and made 19 starts. He also pitched for the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

The Cardinals made the move Wednesday.

DIV II CHAMPIONSHIP-SITE

Division II championship game leaving Alabama

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — The Division II football championship game is leaving Alabama after 28 years.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that the game will move to Kansas City, Kan., starting next season.

Florence has hosted the championship game since 1985 with the last set for Dec. 21.

It is the second-longest continuous period for any NCAA championship venue, behind the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Kansas City will host the games from 2014-17.

The championship had been played in five different locations under four bowl names in its first 13 years. It was renamed the NCAA Division II Football Championship Game when Florence won the bidding to host.

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