Chiefs Potpourri for a Day Off

With no practice and no availability to players and coaches, Tuesday seemed a good time to clean out the notebook of non-training camp related items involving the Chiefs. Enjoy.

SHANNON SHARPE’S MOTIVATION

This weekend, former Denver-Baltimore TE Shannon Sharpe will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ceremonies will be held on Saturday evening and can be seen on ESPN and the NFL Network.

Speaking this week, Sharpe talked about the people who helped make him one of the top tight ends in the history of the game. He mentioned his late Grandmother who raised him, his older brother Sterling who he emulated, his quarterback John Elway and the man who drafted him in the seventh round out of Savannah State in 1990, then Broncos coach Dan Reeves.

And there was one more person – former Chiefs CB Albert Lewis. Yes, Sharpe thanked a member of the Chiefs.

“Probably the guy that had one of the biggest impacts on me being the player that I am was an opponent of mine, Albert Lewis,” Sharpe said.

“He forced me to be good. When he was in Kansas City, my whole thing was if I could beat Albert Lewis, I could beat anybody. I said if I win against him, I can play in this league; I belong in this league.”

Against the Chiefs in his career, he caught 112 passes for 1,419 yards and a dozen TDs.

A GREAT MAN FROM THE FRANCHISE’S FIRST DAYS


It was over 50 years ago and things were different in the world. In 1956, TCU running back Jim Swink was second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, finishing just behind winner Howard Cassidy from Ohio State. Swink was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1957 NFL Draft, taken in the second round by George Halas.

But Swink walked away from the Bears and professional football and went to medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where he studied and became an orthopedic surgeon.

Every year the Bears would call to see if Swink wanted to play football again. But the idea only made sense if he could play in Dallas. When Lamar Hunt started the American Football League in 1960, Swink signed with the Texans for that inaugural season. That’s him sealing the deal on the left, shaking hands with an unknown Texans official.

Swink ended up appearing in just five games for the Texans. He carried the ball 10 times for 16 yards, catching four passes for 37 yards and returning one kickoff for 36 yards. A knee injury hampered him the rest of that 14-game season and when it was over, Swink walked away from football and returned to med school.

In 1965 Swink was drafted again. Not by a football team, but by Uncle Sam, as he joined the U.S. Army. After basic training, he was sent to South Vietnam and eventually stationed with the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi, a small town along Highway 1 between Saigon and Cambodia. After five months, he was transferred to the 1st Infantry Division, the “Big Red One” out of Ft. Riley, Kansas, that was stationed at Lai Khe Base Camp. Swink would go out on various 1st Infantry operations, sometimes gone for 30 days at a time.

While he was in the field, Swink was limited in the care he could provide. “We can give them some pain medication and start an IV on them or very rarely maybe a system with their airway and breathing,” he told a Texas oral history project. “You get them on a helicopter as fast as you can.”

While in Vietnam, Swink was awarded a Bronze Star, an Air Medal and Purple Heart for his service. The Bronze Star is awarded for “heroic or meritorious achievement or service.” The Air Medal is presented for “meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. The Purple Heart is awarded to all military that have been killed or wounded in action.

A display honoring Swink and others who served in the armed forces is now open at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas.

THIGGY HOOKs UP WITH CHAN

Last week, QB Tyler Thigpen signed on with the Buffalo Bills and head coach Chan Gailey. Thigpen had spent the past two seasons with the Dolphins in Miami – that’s where he was traded by the new Chiefs regime during the 2009 season.

This year as a free agent, Thigpen was looking for a spot where he could get a chance to return to the starting lineup. He thought hooking up again with Gailey might be his best opportunity. It was with the Chiefs in the 2008 season that Gailey revamped the Kansas City offensive attack to take advantage o Thigpen’s familiarity working out of the shotgun and his ability to move around and make plays on the run.

“I felt like it was a great opportunity here, already knowing the system,” Thigpen told the Buffalo media. “I got a look at the playbook, first meeting, it felt like second nature to me. I was in it for a year and a half with Chan. It’s definitely an advantage for me coming in here knowing the offense already.”

Thigpen threw for 2,608 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 11 starts with the Chiefs in that 2008 season.

“For the most part offensively, I feel like Chan was able to put us in the right place,” Thigpen said. “We had our running backs making plays for us. For the most part, when you put up so many points on offense and the defense can’t stop the opposing team, what good is that going to do at the end of the day? We go back and forth and that one time they stop you on offense, but our defense can’t stop them that one time, they’re going to outscore you.”

MISC.

College Football Hall of Famer and 1988 10th-round Chiefs draft choice RB Kenny Gamble has been selected to the 25th Anniversary Team for the Patriot League. Playing at Colgate, he received All-America honors for three seasons (1985-87) and finished his career with 7,623 all-purpose yards and 5,220 career rushing yards. In three seasons with the Chiefs (1988-90), he played in 19 games, with 6 carries for 24 yards and 18 kickoffs for a 19.2-yard average.

The United Football League may be in limbo, but that hasn’t stopped Marty Schottenheimer (right) from trying to spread the word. The coach of the Virginia Destroyers will be the keynote speaker at the Virginia Beach National Night Out event on Tuesday evening. If the UFL actually does return, they should be re-opening training camps in about two weeks. Whether the league return remains up in the air, as money is the primary problem; the UFL has lost too much over two previous seasons.

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