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tk13
06-23-2005, 02:21 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/11961341.htm

Gado grabs attention
Chiefs like what they see in rookie back

By ELIZABETH MERRILL
Kansas City Star

The video was sitting somewhere in a pile, lost in the shuffle of the 2005 draft. Truth is, there was nothing remarkable about it. Sam Gado is running. He looks strong and fast. He’s the third-string running back at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

The story could end there, with the video filed in a circular basket, only Gado’s coach is former NFL quarterback Ken Karcher. He’s an old friend of Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders. He’s persistent. In the last phone call, Karcher says something that sticks in Saunders’ head.

“I guarantee you that Sam Gado will bless your life as well as the lives of others in that organization,” he says.

There are nearly 20 rookies in Kansas City for a final week of workouts, but coach Dick Vermeil knows which one is Gado. He’s the one standing outside, in 90-degree heat, smiling.

The undrafted rookie didn’t just make it out of the video scrap heap. Both Vermeil and Saunders say Gado was so impressive during offseason workouts that he has a shot of sticking around past training camp.

“He has exceeded our expectations in every area,” Saunders says.

“He’s just a ball of energy.”

He’s 210 pounds of pep, he’s an honors student who wants to go back to his home in Nigeria and someday be a doctor, but Samkon Gado wants you to know one thing — he wasn’t always this sky-high. Gado never dominated in college. He was supposed to redshirt in 2004 before Liberty’s top two running backs got hurt.

But college production doesn’t always translate to NFL potential, and Karcher says Gado’s best days are still ahead of him. He ran a 4.47 40-yard dash for the Patriots, and is deceptively strong. The Chiefs list him at 5 foot 11 and 210 pounds. Karcher says Gado actually weighs 225.

Gado was nicknamed “The Nigerian Nightmare” in high school after his boyhood idol, Christian Okoye. Karcher says Gado reminds him of a faster, smaller Okoye. But all the praise couldn’t help Gado’s jitters when he packed for Kansas City. He played football at a small high school, then was relegated to backup duty at a Division I-AA college. And now he was going to Kansas City to work out with a team that had Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson.

“That was in the back of my mind,” Gado says. “I mean, if I couldn’t start at Liberty …

“I think the best advice I got was from Coach Karcher. He told me the fact that I came down here, that they expressed interest, means I belong. It would not be in my best interest to go in thinking, ‘Wow, that’s Priest Holmes.’ Don’t get me wrong, the first day I couldn’t believe it that there was Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez and Trent Green, people I grew up watching and admiring. But then I had to get over that quickly. Within a matter of minutes.”

Liberty, Gado says, is a Christian school where a football player has three objectives — glorifying God, becoming the best student in the classroom, and, last in the order, excelling at football. He ran for 901 yards and 11 touchdowns on 138 carries as a senior. He also averaged 26.9 yards a kickoff return.

He didn’t always want to play football. Soccer was the sport of choice in Nigeria, and Gado was a midfielder before he moved to the United States at age 9. His buddies played football in the United States, so Gado had to try. He spent a couple of years convincing his dad he would hold up OK despite the physicality of the sport.

In the nights after a long practice, Gado will call Karcher, who’s an expert on hope and longshots. Karcher played behind John Elway in Denver. He says Gado’s in a perfect spot because there’s no pressure on him. He can learn from Holmes and Johnson. He can go to NFL Europe, if necessary, and earn experience.

But Karcher, who recently came to Kansas City to watch Gado work out, knows his pupil will make it in the NFL. He almost guarantees it.

“I’ve played with guys who weren’t as good as him,” he says.

It’s obvious Saunders has a soft spot for Gado. He spent nearly 10 minutes talking about the rookie Wednesday, and at one point said the Chiefs are better off with Gado around this summer.

He isn’t going anywhere. Today marks the last rookie workout, but Gado will stay until just before training camp, when the players are no longer permitted at the practice facility. He doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. He says it’s a win-win situation, but admits he’ll be very disappointed if he doesn’t make it.

“Honestly, wouldn’t you smile if you were here?” he says. “I mean, you get to play football for an occupation. That’s almost ridiculous.”

Pants
06-23-2005, 02:32 AM
Wow. Jonathan Smith has some competition.

DaWolf
06-23-2005, 03:07 AM
Very nice story. I like guys who are athletes and have his attitude. Hope he turns into a good player...

JimNasium
06-23-2005, 08:01 AM
Jessie Haynes?

AirForceChief
06-23-2005, 08:13 AM
I thought Brian Shay was the next big thing from a small school?

donkhater
06-23-2005, 08:17 AM
Why not? He wouldn't be the first undrafted free agent from a small school to make it in the NFL.

KC needs a third RB. I imagine it will depend on his ability to play special teams.

If there is one thing that I trust this coaching staff to do, it is to pick a RB that is right for this system. If they say he has the goods and makes the team, then he has the goods.

Coach
06-23-2005, 08:26 AM
Wow. Jonathan Smith has some competition.

I would say so.

I did a little math, and 901 yards, divide by 138 carries = 6.5 Yards Per Carry.

That's pretty good.

StcChief
06-23-2005, 08:38 AM
Sounds good to me. Small school good number though.

Competition is a good thing for all involved.

SNR
06-23-2005, 08:39 AM
So I guess now Gado is the new 3-legged puppy at training camp that everyone roots for

KChiefs1
06-23-2005, 08:43 AM
Looks like Rich Scanlon was some competition!

htismaqe
06-23-2005, 09:15 AM
Samkon Gado? Is he a hobbit?

shaneo69
06-23-2005, 09:25 AM
Quote: "It’s obvious Saunders has a soft spot for Gado. He spent nearly 10 minutes talking about the rookie Wednesday, and at one point said the Chiefs are better off with Gado around this summer."

Looks like Saunders has found his new Blaylock. Hey LJ, you're back at 3rd string, buddy.

C-Mac
06-23-2005, 09:29 AM
Why not? He wouldn't be the first undrafted free agent from a small school to make it in the NFL.

You can imagine that Priest Holmes is quite the inspiration for many like him.

htismaqe
06-23-2005, 09:33 AM
Quote: "It’s obvious Saunders has a soft spot for Gado. He spent nearly 10 minutes talking about the rookie Wednesday, and at one point said the Chiefs are better off with Gado around this summer."

Looks like Saunders has found his new Blaylock. Hey LJ, you're back at 3rd string, buddy.

Great. Yet another reason for our coaches to choose sentiment over production.

C-Mac
06-23-2005, 09:44 AM
Great. Yet another reason for our coaches to choose sentiment over production.

Interesting, the offense has been the most productive in the NFL the last 3 years.
:shrug:

Rain Man
06-23-2005, 09:44 AM
I don't get it. If he was that good, why was he third string at Liberty? Should we be looking at the first and second-string backs there, who must by logic be guaranteed NFL stars?

KCChiefsMan
06-23-2005, 09:45 AM
Jessie Haynes?

Gado = potential 3rd RB

Jessie Haynes = hyped up to be the every down back for the Kansas City Chiefs

C-Mac
06-23-2005, 09:47 AM
I don't get it. If he was that good, why was he third string at Liberty? Should we be looking at the first and second-string backs there, who must by logic be guaranteed NFL stars?

There must be a straight line somewhere in their learning curve.

htismaqe
06-23-2005, 10:00 AM
Interesting, the offense has been the most productive in the NFL the last 3 years.
:shrug:

And our defense has been the least productive in the NFL. It just hasn't hurt us on offense -- yet.

C-Mac
06-23-2005, 10:09 AM
And our defense has been the least productive in the NFL. It just hasn't hurt us on offense -- yet.

Just give them more time and they all will fail miserably. :rolleyes:

htismaqe
06-23-2005, 10:23 AM
Just give them more time and they all will fail miserably. :rolleyes:

The difference is that, so far, the guys they have perma-wood for on offense have gotten it done. Trent Green comes to mind.

shaneo69
06-23-2005, 10:37 AM
And our defense has been the least productive in the NFL. It just hasn't hurt us on offense -- yet.

Actually, I think Saunders' stubbornness cost us during our four game losing streak last season.

After Blaylock ran for 141 yards in the first half at N.O., the Saints should've been worn down in the 2nd half, but DB only had 45 yards on 13 carries in the 2nd half. LJ should've been used to pound the Saints in the 2nd half of that game.

The next week, on MNF at Arrowhead, we should've used the same strategy against N.E. that we used at Baltimore.....pound the hell out of their defense. That's how Pittsburgh had beat them earlier. But instead, LJ didn't play and Blaylock only averaged 3 yards per carry.

When Saunders was finally forced to give LJ a chance to play, they ran off a 4 game winning streak.

Manila-Chief
06-23-2005, 10:40 AM
I don't get it. If he was that good, why was he third string at Liberty? Should we be looking at the first and second-string backs there, who must by logic be guaranteed NFL stars?

My question exactly ... why only the 3rd. stringer?

Only thing I can think of is that the first and 2nd. team RB went down with injury and he began to shine? But, again, if the other 2 beat him out why are we not taking a look at them?

I hope he lives up to the hype. Time will tell.

htismaqe
06-23-2005, 10:44 AM
Actually, I think Saunders' stubbornness cost us during our four game losing streak last season.

After Blaylock ran for 141 yards in the first half at N.O., the Saints should've been worn down in the 2nd half, but DB only had 45 yards on 13 carries in the 2nd half. LJ should've been used to pound the Saints in the 2nd half of that game.

The next week, on MNF at Arrowhead, we should've used the same strategy against N.E. that we used at Baltimore.....pound the hell out of their defense. That's how Pittsburgh had beat them earlier. But instead, LJ didn't play and Blaylock only averaged 3 yards per carry.

When Saunders was finally forced to give LJ a chance to play, they ran off a 4 game winning streak.

Thanks for refreshing my memory. I knew I wasn't imagining it.