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Archie F. Swin
04-25-2005, 06:20 AM
Khari Long drafted by Chiefs

By Nick Gholson/Times Record News(Wichita Falls, TX)
April 25, 2005

Although he expected to be taken in the NFL Draft, Khari Long said he didn't watch a single minute of ESPN's coverage.

"I wasn't going to stress myself out," he said.

So Long was shopping at a Wal-Mart in Waco when the Kansas City Chiefs called just before 3 p.m. Sunday to let the 2000 Rider High School graduate know he was their sixth-round draft pick.

"I really thought I'd go a little earlier," said Long, the 199th player to be drafted.

The 6-4, 257-pound Long, who played defensive end for Baylor the last four years, had impressive statistics at the NFL Combine this year, including a 4.69 time in the 40 and a 38.5-inch vertical jump. He finished among the top five at his position in every category NFL teams charted.

A solid showing in the Hula Bowl all-star game also helped Long catch the attention of NFL scouts. He had a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

"I picked up a fumble and ran 45 yards before the Virginia Tech quarterback caught me. If I had scored on that play, I would probably have been the MVP of that game," Long said.

He said he had visits with the Chicago Bears, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Chiefs.

Kansas City impressed him most because he met with the whole coaching staff and spent two days there.

Long, who will attend a rookie mini-camp with the Chiefs next week, said he thinks he can make the Kansas City roster as a sixth-round draft pick.

"The NFL is a game of speed, and teams are looking for athletic ability," he said. "There are guys out there who have been Pro Bowlers all their lives who came out of the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds of the draft."

"We are thrilled for Khari," Baylor coach Guy Morriss said. "He has good strength, and I believe he'll have a chance to blossom in Kansas City."

Long credited "hard work and just believing in myself" as the main reasons for the success he had at Baylor, where he made more tackles (58) than any other defensive lineman his senior season.

He also led the team in quarterback hurries (eight), was tied for second in sacks (two) and was No. 3 in tackles for losses (eight).

Long is the first Wichita Falls player taken in the NFL Draft since 1998 when the Indianapolis Colts selected Rider graduate Aaron Taylor, an Outland Trophy winner from Nebraska, in the seventh round with the 190th pick.

He is the first Baylor player drafted since defensive tackle Ethan Kelley was taken in the seventh round in 2003 by the New England Patriots and only the third Bear chosen in the last six NFL Drafts.