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SNR
08-17-2006, 01:47 AM
Didn't see it posted, not gonna look after page 2, so screw you all if this is a repost.

I didn't realize he went through that much last year. All I heard from DV was he had a "sickness" and that was it and all I heard the rest of the season.

GRETZ: Comeback Kid Goes Home
Aug 16, 2006, 3:12:10 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ


RIVER FALLS, WI – Like most of the Chiefs right now, Kevin Sampson’s thoughts are of a different place. While his teammates are thinking about going home this Friday and ending their sojourn to the northwoods, Sampson is thinking about Thursday, when the Chiefs will play the Giants in the swamps of New Jersey.



Don’t tell him this is a meaningless pre-season game. Not after what happened last year, not after the roller coaster ride his life took that ended up being thrilling and chilling, but ultimately not much fun.

When the Chiefs face the Giants in the Meadowlands, Sampson will be back in very familiar surroundings. He’s a child of Jersey, born and raised in Westwood, just 15 miles away from Giants Stadium. Teammate Rich Scanlon grew up just down the road from Sampson in Oradell, and a few more miles from there is where Tamba Hali spent his high school years in Teaneck. Sampson’s mom went to Teaneck High School just like Hali.

All of them will enjoy a homecoming of sorts with this game. None is more meaningful than Sampson’s return. Not after what happened last year.

“I guess you can make a big thing of me going back to Jersey and playing,” Sampson said. “But for me, any game is a big game. After last year, I look at everyday as an important moment.”

Going into the pre-season opener last year, Sampson was the Chiefs starter at right tackle. He was also part of the placement protection squad that got very little work in that game against the Vikings at the Metrodome. That’s why Sampson was on the field for a meaningless PAT kick at the very end of the game.

It was on that play that he sprained the big toe on his right foot, something that kept him out of action for a month. He finally got back on the field for the second game, saw more time in the third game and then was back in the starting lineup for the fourth game of the year against Philadelphia.

Next was a bye week for the Chiefs, and Sampson went home to New Jersey. It was there where a combination of physical factors led him to suffer severe dehydration. He was admitted to a New Jersey hospital and it was ultimately discovered that his kidneys had shutdown. He spent a week there before being discharged.

“I should have really been scared, but the part where I was in the most trouble, I was unconscious and don’t remember anything,” said Sampson. “By the time I finally came around, they had me hooked up to all the machines and the doctors were talking to me and I wasn’t really afraid of anything.”

The fear came later when he couldn’t get back on the field. He dropped a lot of weight and he had trouble regaining his strength. Over the last 12 games, Sampson got on the field twice. He ended up being inactive for the final six games.

But there was a lot going on off-field for Sampson. There was some re-evaluation of his life. He made a commitment to get closer to God. He started taking better care of himself. Hydration is paramount. Sampson has had numerous IVs after practice this year in River Falls.

“Mike Solari calls it detailing the situation, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” said Sampson. “You watch guys like Will Shields, Casey Wiegmann, Brian Waters and what they do to get ready for a season, to keep their bodies in shape throughout a season, just how they take care of themselves.

“That’s what I’m trying to work on now.”

When you break into the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick, most of your energy is spent on simply trying to make the team. There isn’t much time for the extras.

“It’s about being a professional, that’s what you learn,” said Sampson. “When you come in and you make the roster, you think ‘Hey, I’m a pro.’ But it just means you are on the roster. It doesn’t mean you are a professional. You have to learn how to handle yourself to become a true pro.”

Through is injury and illness last year, Sampson learned something most 25-year olds seldom understand: they are not bulletproof.

“That’s especially true of football players,” said Sampson. “You make a living with your body and you don’t believe there’s any way your body is going to let you down. When it happens, it’s a shock.”

An aspiring pro, Sampson goes to the Meadowlands to see family and friends and to play in game No. 2 of the 2006 season.

“I don’t spend any time thinking about last year and what happened,” Sampson said. “But I have to admit that after the game (in Houston) I walked off the field thinking, ‘Hey, I didn’t get hurt.’

“Now, it’s about getting better, about becoming assignment sound, about blending together with Will (Shields.)”

And it’s about staying on the field.

“I don’t think I took it for granted before,” said Sampson. “Hey, I’m a seventh round draft pick. But I know I don’t take it for granted now. I’m looking forward to playing against the Giants for a lot of reasons, but the most is I’m playing. That’s special.”

The opinions offered in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Count Alex's Losses
08-17-2006, 01:59 AM
Great article. You can't help but root for this guy.

Halfcan
08-17-2006, 02:10 AM
Teaneck NJ, I hear it is lovely this time of year.

Spicy McHaggis
08-17-2006, 02:18 AM
Sampson has the talent to be our starting RT and I hope he wins the job and locks up the spot for years to come. Svitek and him could really be the beginning of the next "era" of the Chiefs offensive line.

Halfcan
08-17-2006, 02:22 AM
Sampson has the talent to be our starting RT and I hope he wins the job and locks up the spot for years to come. Svitek and him could really be the beginning of the next "era" of the Chiefs offensive line.

Lets hope!!

Spicy McHaggis
08-17-2006, 02:32 AM
Lets hope!!

I am.

I'm really hyped on Svitek but at the same time trying to keep in mind that the guy was playing DE in college less than 2 years ago. He's going to make mistakes and look bad sometimes but I'm keeping the faith.

jidar
08-17-2006, 08:55 AM
sweet another feel good story.
Now if we can just get one that ends up with a playmaker.

SNR
08-17-2006, 09:13 AM
sweet another feel good story.
Now if we can just get one that ends up with a playmaker.Actually, this one is about a young starter. Very likely he'll turn into a playmaker. This isn't another Jesse Haynes/JJ Moses story

rad
08-17-2006, 09:18 AM
I am.

I'm really hyped on Svitek but at the same time trying to keep in mind that the guy was playing DE in college less than 2 years ago. He's going to make mistakes and look bad sometimes but I'm keeping the faith.

Didn't Brian Waters play a different position in college?

BigChiefFan
08-17-2006, 09:22 AM
I like Sampson's play. Last year, I thought he did a great job and had the position locked-up until he wigged out. he sounds like has a better perspective this year. I'm glad to see he's ready to turn the corner.

RockChalk
08-17-2006, 09:30 AM
Didn't Brian Waters play a different position in college?

believe he was a tight end

Spicy McHaggis
08-17-2006, 02:21 PM
believe he was a tight end

Yep and he was an NFLE guy too, I believe. If Svitek can come close to what Waters has done...

htismaqe
08-17-2006, 02:26 PM
I like Sampson's play. Last year, I thought he did a great job and had the position locked-up until he wigged out. he sounds like has a better perspective this year. I'm glad to see he's ready to turn the corner.

To be fair, we'd probably wig out too if we had a near-death experience from playing football...