There's no kick in linebacker

Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin will never forget his first meeting with linebacker Nick Reveiz. That's because Reveiz will never let him.

Dec. 2, the day after Kiffin was introduced as UT's new head man, Reveiz decided to drop by the football office and meet his new boss. Upon arriving, however, the 5-10, 220-pound middle linebacker found the Vol coach already involved in a conversation.

"He was really cool about it," Reveiz recalled this week. "He was talking to somebody but he dropped what he was doing and started talking for a while."

Reveiz mentioned that his father, Fuad, had been the place-kicker for the Minnesota Vikings while Kiffin's father, Monte, was the team's inside linebackers coach between 1992 and '94.

What happened next was a moment neither Lane Kiffin nor Nick Reveiz is likely to forget.

As Kiffin recalled: "I said, 'So you're a kicker,' and he said, 'No, I'm a linebacker.' I kinda felt embarrassed."

Kiffin's mistaken assumption was understandable, given Reveiz's bloodline and his short stature.

"I actually asked him if he was a kicker because I knew the name," Kiffin said, shaking his head at the recollection.

Reveiz's reaction was prompt and predictable.

"He just put his head down," Kiffin recalled. "I apologized to him, and he said, 'You're not the first person to say it.'"

Reveiz's recollection of that awkward initial meeting may be even more vivid than his coach's:

"I had mentioned that my dad was a Viking when Coach Monte was there, and (Lane) said, 'Oh, you kick the ball. Cool!' I said, 'No, I don't, but that's OK. We'll take it one step at a time. I'm a linebacker.'"

After a brief pause, Reveiz says the new head coach tried to recover.

"He said, 'You didn't like that joke about kickers, did you?' I was like, 'I'm not a kicker.' It was funny."

Odds are, it's a lot funnier now than it was then.

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