While it was hoped that the prolific, albeit oft-injured passer from Alabama could anchor the quarterback position, he - like all too many others who have come after Len Dawson - ended up being a place holder. Sadly, Croyle's story was less about his time on the field than the continual mantra from the organization that this was going to be his year to shine. It was a promise never fulfilled as he failed to earn a single win in 10 career starts over his five-year career with the Chiefs.
His first year in the league, he was the understudy to Trent Green in what should have been an ideal situation for a rookie quarterback. When Green was shipped to Miami before the 2007 season, Croyle was given the chance to compete for the starting job with Damon Huard - a battle featured on HBO's Hard Knocks. Croyle received more attention for his wife, Kelli, than his play under center. He would appear in nine games, losing all six that he started.
The following season marked the first that he was given the starting job outright. He suffered a shoulder injury in the opening game against the New England Patriots (the same game that saw Tom Brady knocked out for the season, and Matt Cassel become a starter in the league). When Croyle returned in the seventh week, he suffered a right-knee sprain in the second quarter, and his season was done. Injuries and inconsistent play would catch up with Croyle.
That first game in 2008 also spelled the end of his tenure as the starting quarterback in Kansas City. New general manager Scott Pioli reached out to his former team in New England, and the Chiefs traded for Cassel in the off-season. Despite being healthy, Croyle started only a single game in 2009 and 2010. Croyle signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, appearing in two preseason games. After being waived in September, he tried out for Indianapolis, Miami and Houston but was not offered a contract. Like here, he just couldn't catch on. Arizona re-signed him this past January before he announced his retirement this May.
Croyle, the first quarterback drafted by the Chiefs to start a game since Todd Blackledge in 1984, was supposed to be different from the others. Instead, his career stands as another reminder of the Chiefs' fruitless search for a franchise quarterback. His once-strong arm is now just a footnote.