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tk13
09-12-2004, 01:16 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/9640532.htm

http://www.kansascity.com/images/kansascity/kansascitystar/news/TYNES_SP_090804_BW.jpg

Tried but true

Chiefs kicker Tynes has endured life trials and passed a job test

By WRIGHT THOMPSON The Kansas City Star


It's been the highest and lowest 17 months of Lawrence Tynes' life. Everything he ever wanted, he got. Everything he ever wanted, he lost.

As his professional career finally came together, as Tynes inched closer to one of the NFL's 32 elusive kicking jobs, his family cracked and creaked at the seams. But that worst brought out his best, failure and success always connected.

“It all happened like this,” he says, just days into a future he's spent years chasing, slowly swirling a straw in his glass of ice water. “My four best friends and my brother were arrested, May 3, 2003.”

A glance up across the table.

“My mom and dad got divorced in August.”

Swirl.

“A month later my mom has a mild heart attack.”

A peek at his half-eaten burger, the Overland Park restaurant buzzing around him.

“April of 2004 my mom is read her last rites for a kidney problem.”

Another swirl.

“Then my brother was sentenced to 27 years.”

And finally …

“Now she's doing well and here I am.”

***

Here he is.

It's Monday. He's in the Chiefs locker room when a Danish television station comes through the door, a gaggle of camera gear and funny accents, looking for Morten Andersen. They, like many football fans, didn't believe that the future Hall of Famer and their country's most beloved athlete might not be around.

So, in what has to be an awkward moment, Tynes smiles and talks to TV2 of Denmark, a gentleman named Jimmy Bojgaard asking the questions.

First question: How does it feel to beat out a guy like Morten?

What he really means is: Who the hell are you?

“He's under a lot of pressure,” long snapper Kendall Gammon says, standing two feet from Tynes' locker. “You see who he's replacing.”

Tynes remains nonplussed. Steve McQueen cool. He's been cut from the Chiefs twice before. He's been to Canada to kick, to Europe. He's seen his mother on what doctors thought was her deathbed, and knows how to put money in a federal prisoner's account to pay for phone calls. A kick? That's nothing.

“I don't feel stress, at all,” he says. “(Not) one bit. Ever. You know, I did my first two years here, because, to me, this game was bigger than I was. I don't know why. Now, I seriously don't feel it.”

Small wonder the game seemed bigger. It was. He was born an ocean away in Scotland, with an American father and a Scottish mom. The past week, the Scottish media has been on fire, calling Tynes for interviews and splashing the stories over their front pages: he's the first Scot ever to play in the NFL.

When L.T. (as his friends know him) was growing up, father Larry Tynes was a member of the U.S. Navy's elite Seal Team Two, whose area of operations is Europe. Navy Seals are the dudes that can overthrow a government with a can of chili and “Carly Simon's Greatest Hits.” They are not to be trifled with.

Lawrence and his brothers Mark and Jason loved football — the European kind. They followed the Celtic soccer club — their family was Catholic — but it was the hated Protestant Rangers who tried to sign an 8-year-old Tynes for their youth program.

That was every boy's dream, but instead of following it, he was moving to Florida. Dad was being transferred, and the Navy doesn't take no for an answer. Their Scottish lilts didn't fly in the panhandle, which is more Birmingham than Miami.

“I was such a little dork,” he says, laughing now, the accent long ago swallowed by a Florabama drawl, “They called us the Lucky Charms kids.”

He made friends, though. They rode bikes, then went tubing, then drank beer, each passing year bringing new rites of passage. During the fall, Lawrence and his brothers kicked.

Few colleges came after him, and he moved to Troy State — which is about as far away from Scotland as a man can get. His plan was to go to the University of Alabama law school and work for the FBI.

But before he could sign up for the LSAT, he was fooling around on the Internet, checking out a 2001 NFL draft Web site. Ranked second under kickers, much to his surprise, was Lawrence Tynes. That was the first time he realized football could be a job.

Huh, he thought, I might give this kicking thing a whirl.

***

Here he is.

It's Wednesday, and after he finishes practice but before he takes his girlfriend furniture shopping, Lawrence Tynes wants you to know why he kept trying. Maybe with an NFL check, he could take care of his family and pay for the kind of attorneys his brother couldn't afford.

“I'm still fighting,” he says. “That was one of my driving goals to make this team. For my mom and for my brother. Because I'm gonna get a lawyer. I really want to take it to ‘60 Minutes.' ”

This is the story: While Lawrence was chasing his football dream and oldest brother Jason was in the military, the middle sibling Mark took a different road.

According to federal court documents and evidence from a three-year joint DEA/ATF investigation, Mark Tynes was the ringleader of a massive marijuana trafficking network.

“He wasn't the drug dealer who was a thug,” Lawrence says. “He was a shirt and tie guy. It's what he did. I can't cover it up, but he was a sharp guy. Everybody was shocked when they found out.”

It was L.T.'s 25th birthday. Driving over to his brother's house, he saw an armada of SUVs and flashing lights. He kept going. Then he saw the same scene at familiar places around town — seems as a favor Mark had involved four of Lawrence's best (and financially strapped) friends.

“I got to see all my friends get up there and testify against him,” he says.

His ex-buddies received short sentences; one even gets out in time for the next Super Bowl. He knows this because he checks the Federal Bureau of Prison's Web site. Mark won't get out until 2026.

“The harshest sentence in our district for marijuana ever,” Lawrence says, shaking his head. “Unbelievable. … My dad is a detective, and he puts away child molesters who get six or seven years.”

What got the middle Tynes was federal sentencing guidelines. He had two prior convictions for felony possession. With the feds, it's simple mathematics: this crime with these circumstances with this person equals this sentence.

In Mark Tynes' case, the judge also used alleged witness intimidation and coercion as a sentence enhancer. This is controversial; constitutional law experts have been battling over the legality of denying a defendant due process to these enhancers, which don't have to be proven to a jury during the trial, only to a judge during sentencing.

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court declared that facts neither admitted nor proven but used to determine severity of punishment violate a person's right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment.

With the enhancers, Mark's time went from a maximum of 151 months, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Florida, to a whopping 324 months.

The Tynes family didn't make it through the drama. Lawrence points to the arrest as an overriding factor in his parents' divorce after 28 years of marriage. At best, it didn't help his mother's medical conditions — which she is still recovering from after coming so close to death. At worst, it might have caused them.

There were other costs, too. He leans over the table at an Overland Park hot spot, holding his camera phone.

“This is my little buddy,” he says sadly, pointing to his cute nephew who'll grow up without a father, a 2-year-old boy who hopefully can come to some Chiefs games. “Looks just like Mark.”

***

Here he is.

It's Thursday, less than 72 hours from the Denver game. Lawrence and some Chiefs are making plans to watch the opening of the NFL season: Colts-Pats. After just four days, he's one of the guys.

It didn't hurt that he worked out here this off-season, doing the same conditioning program as his bigger teammates. (Andersen was nowhere to be seen.) Tynes' work and his determination — this was his third try at making the team — have earned him respect in the locker room.

“You've got to admire the perseverance,” Gammon says.

And the performance. The last two weeks, Andersen didn't say five words to Tynes. The writing was on the wall.

“I wanted what he had,” Tynes says, “and I think he knew that.”

This time, Tynes got what he wanted.

He's got his family going crazy with the Chiefs gear. Who knows? They might be wearing Zubaz soon. Tynes' father Larry, now a detective in Florida, has gone especially nuts. It's as if this success is a measure of redemption.

“I'm sure he's already got a Tynes jersey,” Lawrence says, “and all that business.”

“I think he's got the whole department turned into Chiefs fans now,” says older brother Jason.

Tynes has fans asking for autographs, and, for now, he says he'll never say no. He's not buying anything new, driving his 1997 BWM with more than 100,000 miles on it. He can't believe the deals the Chiefs get all over town, like the 40-percent break at Nebraska Furniture Mart.

“Why do they give people with money discounts?” he asks, flummoxed.

No, this hasn't gotten to him yet.

“Lawrence is a pretty modest guy,” Jason says. “We're all very laid back. He's not gonna change for anything.”

L.T. still refuses to play the “I'm a Chief” card. Calls it “bush league.” When he met his current girlfriend at a Kansas bar, he told her his standard line.

“I'm always like, ‘I work for Sprint,' ” he says. “I can get away with it, easy.”

Later, he gets quiet, reflective even, and says this was his last go-round. He'd have quit had Andersen beaten him out, gone and started a 9-to-5. Before he did, he wanted one more try, for himself, and for his family. He stuck around, and here he is.

It's his time, and he's ready.

ZootedGranny
09-12-2004, 01:28 AM
Pretty good article.

Two things:

1. Chiefs fans should look into hiring Tynes' pops to stealthily stab Al Davis to death.

2. 40% off at Nebraska Furniture Mart? What the ****? This intrigues me. I'm not surprised Chiefs players get breaks around town on purchases, but do sales associates come up to him and ask him if he's Lawrence Tynes, as if they would know what the hell he looks like? Do they cross check names during checkout with a Chiefs player database?

Chiefs Pantalones
09-12-2004, 01:30 AM
Pretty good article.

Two things:

1. Chiefs fans should look into hiring Tynes' pops to stealthily stab Al Davis to death.

2. 40% off at Nebraska Furniture Mart? What the ****? This intrigues me. I'm not surprised Chiefs players get breaks around town on purchases, but do sales associates come up to him and ask him if he's Lawrence Tynes, as if they would know what the hell he looks like? Do they cross check names during checkout with a Chiefs player database?

Every Chiefs player gets free Chevy cars and/or trucks.

KcMizzou
09-12-2004, 01:31 AM
Mark won't get out until 2026.

“The harshest sentence in our district for marijuana ever,” Lawrence says, shaking his head. “Unbelievable. … My dad is a detective, and he puts away child molesters who get six or seven years.”
Completely f*cked up. :shake:


Great article though.. I hope the guy does well.

go bowe
09-12-2004, 01:35 AM
while tynes may miss a few kicks this year, it will be worth it because of the better field position on kickoffs and a greater range in fg's...

i'm glad dv went with the kid...

KcMizzou
09-12-2004, 01:37 AM
while he may miss a few kicks this year, it will be worth it because of the better field position on kickoffs and a greater range in fg's...

i'm glad dv went with the kid... Me too. It's sad to see Mort go, but I think it was a wise decision.

Chiefs Pantalones
09-12-2004, 01:39 AM
Me too. It's sad to see Mort go, but I think it was a wise decision.

I'm not real sad to see Mort go. I'm not gonna miss his short range. He was kind of like Warren Moon...old, but could "kinda" get it done, but not like he used to.

KcMizzou
09-12-2004, 01:42 AM
I'm not real sad to see Mort go. I'm not gonna miss his short range. He was kind of like Warren Moon...old, but could "kinda" get it done, but not like he used to. Yeah, I just kinda like the old guy..

Doesn't matter, I think they did the right thing.

Phobia
09-12-2004, 02:35 AM
I'm not real sad to see Mort go. I'm not gonna miss his short range. He was kind of like Warren Moon...old, but could "kinda" get it done, but not like he used to.

Kinda like Warren Moon? Okay - fair enough.

However, Mort didn't put the "1" in the 1-15 Chargers. Warren did. I never wanted Moon and I'll never forgive him for that. He's almost like that kicker from 1995. You know the one.

Chiefs Pantalones
09-12-2004, 02:42 AM
Kinda like Warren Moon? Okay - fair enough.

However, Mort didn't put the "1" in the 1-15 Chargers. Warren did. I never wanted Moon and I'll never forgive him for that. He's almost like that kicker from 1995. You know the one.

Well, you know what I mean.

Bad example. ROFL

htismaqe
09-12-2004, 06:11 AM
Nice to see our bullshit legal system at work again.

Go kill somebody or rob a convenience store. But don't get caught selling pot. That's a REAL crime.

Archie F. Swin
09-12-2004, 07:06 AM
I wonder what his mums maiden name is? We need to find his clan tartan!

Aye, kilts for the lot of ya!

whoman69
09-12-2004, 07:35 AM
Those who say Tynes hasn't kicked under a pressure situation in the NFL overlook the fact he has done so in college, NFLEL and college. He has kicked in pressure situations in pro ball.

LVNHACK
09-12-2004, 07:40 AM
Me too. It's sad to see Mort go, but I think it was a wise decision.


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