Chris Horn will not be in uniform tonight when Kansas City entertains the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium, but the former Rocky Mountain College receiver is still very much a Chief.
The 26-year-old Horn is sharing a roster spot with fellow wide receiver Curtis Jackson as the NFL team continues to tweak its scorecard on a weekly basis.
Horn was on the roster and on the sideline Monday night in Oakland when the undefeated Chiefs held off the Raiders 17-10. This week, for the nationally televised game against the Bills, Horn has been released and Jackson will be decked out in the red-and-white No. 81 jersey.
While Horn calls the one-week-on, one-week-off rotation unorthodox, he isn't complaining.
"I just try to make the best of it when I'm there in practice," he said in a telephone interview. "I try to get better and take positive steps. I'm not going to be one to complain."
Horn, who signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in April and then made the team's 53-man roster following the late-summer training camp, hasn't competed in a regular-season game yet.
"Obviously that's what I would love to get a chance to do," he said. "But I understand the process that it takes."
While biding his time, Horn is soaking up the excitement surrounding the Chiefs' franchise-best 7-0 start and gaining knowledge as Dante Hall runs kickoffs and punts back for touchdowns.
"I'm watching him like a hawk," Horn said of Hall. "You're looking at perhaps the greatest return guy ever."
Horn, who was a three-time NAIA All-America receiver at Rocky from 1996-98, toiled as both a receiver and kick returner all through the Chiefs' preseason schedule.
Wide receiver is one of the deepest positions on the Chiefs' roster, however, and Hall has returned two kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns.
Horn is still making the most of his opportunity.
"I'm continuing to get better," he said. "It's awesome to get experience at this level. I get to practice against NFL athletes every day."
Last week, in preparation for the Oakland game, he was selected as the Chiefs' offensive practice player of the week. He ran plays as part of the scout team, and also participated on a limited basis with the Chiefs' offensive unit.
There is now talk that Horn's weekly shuffling will soon cease and that he will gain a spot on the team's five-member practice squad.
"But everything is up in the air until it's official," he added.
One thing Horn is certain of is the Chiefs have a shot at adding to their winning streak. Only 11 NFL teams have started a year 8-0 since 1970.
"We have something special and it comes through hard work," he said. "This team has a mentality of hard work and I think it will continue."
Horn is living in an apartment in Kansas City and spending his off hours exploring the city. During the weeks that he is released by the Chiefs, Horn said he remains diligent about conditioning.
"That's something I take pretty seriously," he said. "My greatest challenge is to keep sharp and keep everything in shape."
He did make an exception recently.
"My last off week I flew to Phoenix to work on my wedding plans," he said.
Horn and Amy Leivian, who is from Phoenix, are engaged to be married Feb. 21 in Phoenix. The couple first met in 1993 at World Youth Day in Denver, Colo.
Years later, while attending Leivian's graduation ceremonies at Northern Arizona University, Horn also dropped off a videotape of his football highlights to the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League.
Horn went on to play three years with the Rattlers - making the all-AFL team in 2002 - before he signed his two-year contract with the Chiefs.
"Even with all of the shuffling, in the end, I'm still on an NFL team," said Horn. "That's not an easy thing to do considering where I started. I look at all of this with a positive twist. This is pretty special."