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shaneo69
06-28-2006, 12:18 PM
GRETZ: ROSTER UNKNOWNS - Rudy Niswanger
Jun 28, 2006, 8:35:10 AM by Bob Gretz

This week we look at some of the unfamiliar faces attempting to win a spot for the regular season opener against Cincinnati.

The New Orleans Saints may have the most recent Heisman Trophy winner, running back Reggie Bush out of Southern Cal.

But the Chiefs have the most recent Draddy Trophy winner, center Rudy Niswanger from LSU.

Draddy Trophy? Actually, it’s the Vincent dePaul Draddy Trophy and in the world of college football it’s called the Academic Heisman. The National Football Foundation presents it to the college player who combined academic success, football performance and community involvement.

Niswanger was a summa cum laude graduate of LSU this past May with a degree in Kinesiology. His grade point average for his college career: 4.0; that means he got an A in every class over his college career. Niswanger has already been accepted to the LSU Medical School. Between the $25,000 scholarship that goes with the Draddy Trophy and other graduation honors, he has over $40,000 in money that he can put towards his post-graduate studies.

But Niswanger won’t be going to medical school in August. Instead, he will be with the Chiefs in River Falls, trying to navigate the hardest road possible to an NFL career: as an undrafted rookie free agent.

“This is my dream, this is what I want to do,” Niswanger said. “I have the ability to do it. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Every doctor I talked to said med school is going to be there. You can always go back to that. But you can only play sports for so long. Any time you have the opportunity to play at a level like this and achieve one of your biggest goals and dreams, there’s no doubt you should take it.”

There’s no doubt that going to med school and coming back to pro football is not something that’s done every year, or even every decade. Some players have tried to combine both over the years. Maybe the most notable example was another former LSU player, safety Tommy Casanova. He played six years with Cincinnati, made the Pro Bowl three times and also earned his medical degree at the Cincinnati College of Medicine, eventually becoming an ophthalmic surgeon.

Back in the very first days of the franchise, the Dallas Texans signed running back Jim Swink for the inaugural season of the American Football League in 1960. Swink ran for 1,283 yards as a junior at TCU in the 1955 season. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1957, but went to medical school. Swink was almost done with his med studies when he played the 1960 season with the Texans. He played in five games that season and then went back to becoming Dr. Swink.

Understand that Niswanger did not win the Draddy Trophy just because he’s smart. Some of the honorees over the last 15 years never made the NFL, but among those that did were players like Tennessee DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (2000), Jets QB Chad Pennington (1999) and a fellow named Peyton Manning (1997) a quarterback in Indianapolis.

Niswanger is a talented player. He played in 47 games, starting 29 times, while playing at least one game at all five offensive line positions. Last season Niswanger opened 12 of 13 games at center and earned second-team all-Southeastern Conference honors. He was also part of the Tigers team that won the national championship during the 2003 season.

“I thought I had a chance to be drafted, but there were no expectations that I would be,” said Niswanger. “I believed I had the ability and talent to be drafted, but sometimes things do not work out. I just wanted the opportunity.”

Juggling major college football with a full load of academics in a pre-med curriculum wasn’t easy. But Niswanger says it was simply a matter of time management.

“Whatever you believe is important, you are going to find time for,” he said. “Besides playing sports, it was also important to educate myself in something other than just playing sports. I made time for it. Sometimes guys wanted to go out and see a movie. Well, I had a test and I had to study. It was just something that I had to do.”

One class almost ruined his perfect GPA: Physics II.

“It was all about electricity and magnetism and lots of crazy stuff like that,” Niswanger said. “I took my first test in there and came out with a 55. I was like ‘this is it, the streak ends here.’ But I started studying, I kept working at it and eventually, I pulled myself out of the hole and I ended up pulling out an A at the end of the semester.”

As the Chiefs wrapped up their OTA workouts, Niswanger was at center with the third team. He will have a chance to earn a backup spot behind starter Casey Wiegmann. The only veterans returning with experience playing center are Chris Bober and Jonathan Ingram.

“I had several offers at other places, but this is where I wanted to go,” Niswanger said. ””Of the places I was looking at, they have a great tradition of offensive linemen here and I was really impressed with their offensive line coach (John Matsko.) I also believe that Coach Edwards is going to take the team in a positive direction. It sounded like someplace that I wanted to be.”

And how long will he chase his dream of playing pro football?

“As long as it takes,” said Rudy Niswanger.


http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2006/06/28/gretz_roster_unknowns__rudy_niswanger/

greg63
06-28-2006, 12:20 PM
Nice thread title.

hypersensitiveZO6
06-28-2006, 12:21 PM
Sounds like a great guy, but he should be a doctor though.....wouldn't want to break up the Greg Wesley Chemistry in the locker room.

Moooo
06-28-2006, 12:22 PM
He seems like a class-act, and someone who isn't going to be getting into trouble off the field... Keep em!

Moooo

KCTitus
06-28-2006, 12:27 PM
Rudy was on Encore last night...I watched it.

Moooo
06-28-2006, 12:29 PM
Rudy was on Encore last night...I watched it.

That movie brings a tear or two to my eye. Maybe cause I'm 5'8" and 150...

Its always when he gets the sack... I don't know why, though.

Moooo

DaKCMan AP
06-28-2006, 12:32 PM
can he long-snap?

Luzap
06-28-2006, 01:25 PM
I got to meet Rudy (the famous one) last week. He spoke to our organization.

He's a nice, and funny guy. His presentation was powerful and inspirational. If you're looking for professionalism and flexibility from a speaker, don't hire him ~ but if you're looking for someone to send the message, 'You can do it,' he's great.

Luz
really enjoyed him...

KCTitus
06-28-2006, 01:44 PM
That movie brings a tear or two to my eye. Maybe cause I'm 5'8" and 150...

Its always when he gets the sack... I don't know why, though.

Moooo

LOL...I dont laugh at you but a couple of weeks ago, me and the guys I hang and drink beer with had the discussion of what 'guy' movies made you cry. Rudy was one mentioned, but for me it's Gladiator...that last scene always gets me. Yes, it's a great movie.

luv
06-28-2006, 01:51 PM
That movie brings a tear or two to my eye. Maybe cause I'm 5'8" and 150...

Its always when he gets the sack... I don't know why, though.

Moooo
Shorty. :p

ct
06-28-2006, 02:51 PM
LOL...I dont laugh at you but a couple of weeks ago, me and the guys I hang and drink beer with had the discussion of what 'guy' movies made you cry. Rudy was one mentioned, but for me it's Gladiator...that last scene always gets me. Yes, it's a great movie.

Seriously? That hollywood speech ruined the whole movie for me.

StcChief
06-28-2006, 03:10 PM
I'll take a guy with a 4.0 gpa as Chief.

I like the long snap idea.

DaKCMan AP
06-28-2006, 03:14 PM
yeah, cause even if he can't long snap right now, he should be smart enough to learn, damnit!

Moooo
06-28-2006, 03:18 PM
LOL...I dont laugh at you but a couple of weeks ago, me and the guys I hang and drink beer with had the discussion of what 'guy' movies made you cry. Rudy was one mentioned, but for me it's Gladiator...that last scene always gets me. Yes, it's a great movie.

Brian's Song is always popular for that convo, but it doesn't bring tears to me all the time...

Moooo