Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
Wait for Tait frustrates Chiefs
Wichita KS Eagle (Knight Ridder) 19Aug99 L3
By Adam Teicher: Knight Ridder News Service
John Tait, an offensive tackle from BYU, is one of three unsigned
first-round picks that as of Wednesday still did not have a signed
contract from Chiefs President and General Manager Carl Peterson.
Peterson said that Taits's offer was similar to that made to
Pittsburgh wide receiver Troy Edwards.
Many first-round contracts are based on those of previous players in
selected spots. Edwards signed a five-year contract estimated at
slightly more than $6 million. A signing bonus of $4 million was
included. Yet, a contract that will make both sides happy seems to be
nowhere in sight.
Chiefs Coach, Gunther Cunningham said in jest, "I barely remember his
name." The Chiefs held their 29th and 30th training camp practices
without Tait. "If I had missed camp last year, there's no way I
would have been able to start the second game," said tackle Victor
Riley. "The first week or two of camp, the coaches are throwing
everything at you. That's the time to fire the questions back at
them. That's really where you learn. Here, it's a hands-on
approach. You get to learn the plays and go out and do them against
a live defense."
"It's not the easiest thing in the world," Tait said. "I wish I was
there. But certain things have to be right. If I were there and had
a contract I wasn't happy with, that would be really tough, too."
With the Chief's not yet signing their top draft pick, Tait isn't the
only loser. Journeyman third tackle, Marcus Spears, played for his
third NFL team in five season. Spears has never started an NFL game.
"I struggled," Tait said. "I struggled learning the plays and
adapting to the speed of the game. Every rookie does. They have
that learning curve. I was looking forward to getting in and being
in pads. It would have become easier for me. I would have learned
the offense and learned the plays. That's the biggest thing. When
you know the plays, you have a lot more confidence in the way you
"There have been instances of players having lengthy holdouts and
being able to contribute during the season," he said. "I know it
doesn't happen that way for everybody. But it's not impossible."
"It's all a matter of live action," said Spears, who played in 12
Chief games last season. "That's one of my downfalls. I've never
had the chance some other guys get." The longer Tait is out, the
more chances Spears will get. "It's unfortunate for him he didn't
sign his contract," Spears said. "But it's given me and the other
people that are here the chance to win a job."