One On One: Chris Hannon

Imagine you're Chris Hannon before last year's draft. As a wide receiver at the University of Tennessee, you had a solid career with the Volunteers, but not the sort that makes NFL teams stand up and take notice.

What you do have is crazy athletic ability, speed and potential, and the people who matter are telling you it's enough to carry you to the next level.

All indications are you'll be drafted on the second day, and frankly, looking back on your college years, that's good enough. All you need is the opportunity to show what you can do on the field. There's one small problem, though.

You watch too much TV.

"Coming out of college, we didn't go to a bowl game," said Hannon, "so I was just curious about what people thought about me coming into the league. Kiper had said that I was a late rounder, that I had the speed and the only thing stopping me was I needed to bulk up. A lot of other people were writing that, too, ‘Hannon has the speed, but he needs to bulk up.' I turned on ESPN and I saw all these guys looking all big, but I was looking at safeties and stuff."

After listening to the experts, Hannon convinced himself he could improve his draft stock by becoming something he wasn't - a big, physical receiver. But Hannon's strengths lie in his speed and quickness, not in mauling opposing cornerbacks.

"I started drinking creatine and working out twice a day," said Hannon. "Then I messed up my ankle, so I couldn't run while I was gaining all this weight. I got to the combine and I ran a 4.41, and that was that. I had never run with that weight. At Tennessee, I was like 190, and I ran a 4.29, so everyone was shocked that I had gotten there."

Even worse, he put on the weight quickly and unhealthily, slowing him down and jeopardizing his chances of getting an NFL look.

"Being a skinny dude all my life, trying to gain all that weight, I gained it all in a month and a half. I gained twenty pounds in a month and a half. I was working out twice a day, and the funny thing is, someone told me to eat carbs because they give you energy. I didn't know they packed on weight like that. I ate carbs every night."

The extra weight slowed Hannon down, affecting his timing all season long. Luckily, head coach Herm Edwards and receivers coach Charlie Joiner saw something was going on with the youngster. In last year's offseason camps, Hannon showed flashes of ability, but at times he dropped passes and looked a little slow.

"I was a little sluggish," admitted Hannon. "Good thing they called me back. I was 213, but they sent a letter in the mail telling me I needed to be under 203. So, Herm kind of knew something was up, watching me run in college and watching me run now. By the time camp rolled around, I was about 203, right there on the dot, but now I'm at like 195, so I'm back to that speed weight. Other than that, I've just been lifting weights, to get my arms right, to get my legs, my lower body right, and I'm gaining muscle the right way."

This new Hannon could be a boon for the Chiefs. It's almost as if the team has signed a new player.

Last year, the team was missing a tall, fast, vertical-threat receiver. With the future of Samie Parker (last year's starter) up in the air, Hannon has an opportunity. Maybe he'll be the answer, maybe he won't, but this time, he's ready for the chance.

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