View Full Version : Merrill: One Chief’s European vocation

keg in kc
05-27-2006, 03:43 AM
One Chief’s European vocation (http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/14679476.htm)

The Kansas City Star
Posted on Sat, May. 27, 2006

The beer is good, the TV is bad, and some afternoons, Will Svitek curls up to watch Oprah after a long day of practice. This, Svitek would rather not get back to his buddies. But there’s some other news from across the pond that can.

The Chiefs finally may have found their eventual replacement to 11-time Pro Bowl tackle Willie Roaf.

Svitek won’t say that. He’s been playing offensive line for just 13 months, and Roaf has socks that have lasted longer. But after a trip to NFL Europe, his first chance to line up against somebody who wasn’t wearing a Chiefs uniform, Svitek has given Kansas City’s decision-makers hope.

“He’s been very, very consistent,” Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson said, “and very, very good.”

Svitek was a curious draft pick in 2005, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound defensive end with the body of an offensive tackle. He’d never played the offensive line, but the Chiefs were intrigued by his athletic ability and Stanford mind. He was practice-squad fodder last fall and butted heads with sack leader Jared Allen.

His head was swimming with reams of information; his rookie body was sore from Allen. Peterson is a big proponent of NFL Europe, and he no doubt told his young project the story about Brian Waters, who went from the Euro ranks to two Pro Bowls.

Svitek has started nine games at left tackle for the Frankfurt Galaxy, the team with the league’s top offense, and today he’ll be in Dusseldorf to play in the World Bowl.

Svitek remembers the first days of minicamp last year and how lost he felt. He’d get into scrapes and soaked up information the way he absorbed his political-science classes at Stanford.

“They kind of threw me in there, and I learned on the go,” Svitek said. “Sometimes I’d be completely lost and had no idea. I asked myself what I was doing. I had to be patient. The more reps I got, the better I would get.

“Coming over to Europe, they throw you in there, and I started playing every day and getting comfortable. I guess I started feeling better. Hopefully, I’ll be a different football player when I get back.”

Svitek has been to Europe before, under much different circumstances. He was born in Prague and lived there two years before his parents whisked him out of Czechoslovakia to escape communism. The Sviteks left with no possessions or money and spent time in a refuge camp and learned English.

They eventually landed in California, and Will played tight end and defensive end at Stanford before earning his degree.

“People are always shocked to find out I was born in Prague,” he said. “I’m pretty Americanized.”

Which is why the low doorways, small elevators and strange food have caused Svitek to do a little adjusting. So has the language barrier and the fact that his cell phone doesn’t work.

“The TV is all in German,” he said. “I’ll start watching German TV if a good-looking woman is on. There’s an American channel and a military channel. We can watch Oprah and Jay Leno.”

Most of all, Svitek is looking forward to seeing his teammates. The Chiefs have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL, but they know it’s a matter of time before Roaf and Will Shields retire. Roaf was out for part of 2005 because of a hamstring injury, and the Chiefs struggled in his absence.

Big Willie missed the team’s first minicamp last week because of a tweaked hamstring on the other leg.

Talking on a borrowed cell phone, just before the World Bowl, Svitek, in a way, was oblivious to it all. He was asked whether he’s ready to be the next Willie Roaf. He burst out laughing.

“I don’t think there’s ever going to be a next Willie Roaf,” he said.

05-27-2006, 01:05 PM
He played pretty well today in the World Bowl, especially in the 2nd half. His team ran for over 250 yds and most it was to the left.

05-27-2006, 01:11 PM
I think watching Oprah was a great motivational tool.

If he didn't learn quickly and play well, he might have had to suffer through another season of that useless bitch.

keg in kc
05-27-2006, 01:12 PM
If he learn quickly and play well, he might have had to suffer through another season of that useless bitch.It's like you're channeling kcnut.

05-27-2006, 01:13 PM
It's like you're channeling kcnut.

Nah, I just finished mowing my lawn, and have had a few beers, during , and after.

Hammock Parties
05-27-2006, 03:26 PM
Reading this makes me want to get the e-mail of every Chiefs player in NFL Europe so I can educate them on bittorrent and how to download their favorite american TV shows every week.

06-01-2006, 03:51 PM
football threads get a bump

06-01-2006, 05:06 PM
How about seeing him in a preseason game before inducting him into the HOF? Svitek MAY become a quality player, but I'm surprised he is getting all the accolades recently.

keg in kc
06-01-2006, 05:09 PM
When a guy goes from inexperienced defensive lineman to All NFLE left tackle in a year's time, I think it's worth noting. That says there really may be potential there, and perhaps it wasn't an entirely insane pick. We'll see how he does this July.

06-01-2006, 05:19 PM
They need to sign him to an extension..