At this point of training camp, the players are weary, tired and in need of some down time. However, that’s not going to happen. Head Coach, Andy Reid, wants his players pushing themselves to their own limits within each practice.
For rookie, Dee Ford, that’s not an issue. He already possesses that internal drive to find the path for success at the NFL level. Playing for Auburn University he’s already had a taste of playing in some big time games and that does help his transition from the college game. However, at this level, the physical demands are much higher and the stakes are at a premium.
“Football is very physically demanding. Fortunately I had that in college, so I’m used to the grind. You’ve got to take it day by day,” Ford said after Saturday’s practice.
“You’ve got to always perfect your craft. It is never going to be different. Whether you false step, quicker hands, you can continue to critique yourself. I’m never going to be satisfied with my pass-rush.”
That last sentence is what makes Ford such an outstanding prospect. The Kansas City Chiefs have some solid defensive players but the young linebacker represents the present and future.
However in order to get to either level, you have to be talented and have the support of a strong family. Having athletic talent is one thing but when you have parents that offer strong emotional support every snap along the path, that’s a combination that generally creates a strong foundation for any young NFL prospect. <
Fortunately Ford has that and much more with his parents.
“Yeah, they drove to Cali (for the Rose Bowl) so expect to see the Ford’s. We (are) serious,” he said about his parents commitment to watching their sun play football as often as they can.
However, that doesn’t mean his parents, especially his mother, enjoys the fact they don’t speak on a regular basis since he left Auburn.
“My mama is mad at me because I am not even talking to her.” Ford stated. “I said, ‘Mom, I’m grown now. I can’t talk to you every day.’ But they’ll be alright. I’ve been seeing them, they have been around for long – this whole journey from the Senior Bowl, National Championship, all of that, to the draft process. We’ve all been close – the whole family. We still talk. But not right now. This is a grind. Moms don’t understand the grind. My dad, he gets it. But my mama doesn’t.”
That grind will likely see Ford play both special teams and defense in his first live action of his NFL career this week at Arrowhead against the Cincinnati Bengals. In fact, it will be a treat for Chiefs fans, who have been unable to watch his work at training camp, to get their first glimpse of the motor that lies within the Chiefs top draft pick.
After all, he comes to the Chiefs with a unique skill set to sack quarterbacks and that’s what he’ll be judged on as he begins his NFL career. So what makes a great passer in his eyes?
“Any player that plays with effort, it’s really all about effort. Sometimes you are going to get sacks. Sacks aren’t planned. You just have to work your move and you have to trust, but you are going to play with your hair on fire. I got that from Kevin Greene. He had one of the most successful pass rushes in this league when he played. One thing he hung his hat on was effort,” Ford said.
For such a young player, that’s a solid role model to emulate at the onset of your NFL career. In Kansas City, he plays with two Pro Bowl pass rushers in linebackers, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Of course the greatest of all time, the late Derrick Thomas, is the benchmark that Ford will ultimately shoot for in Kansas City. Either way, he understands the tradition that’s been set at that position within the Chiefs rich history.
“That is why I was so happy that I was drafted here. Here they take pride in their pass rush. They know what they can do to a game, it can change a game,” Ford stated.
Something tells me Ford will change a few games this season for Kansas City.
Photos: John Rieger USA Today Sports
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