Summarized by Kent Larsen
Tait closer to starting for Chiefs
Wichita KS Eagle (AP) 9Dec99 S2
By Doug Tucker: Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI -- LDS Professional Football player John Tait is
progressing towards a starting position with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tait, a former BYU football player who was selected in the first round
of the NFL draft, but who didn't attend the Chief's training camp
because of a contract dispute, is staying in the game in crucial
situations and is performing as coaches expect.
Tait's contract negotiations brought out the worst of the Chief's
general manager, who yelled profanities at Tait during the negotiations.
They also brought out Tait's character as he refused to be intimidated
and nearly passed-up the job with the Chiefs because of the manager.
But after missing the training camp, Tait became the Chief's
second-string left tackle, behind 10-year veteran Glenn Parker, who was
voted the team's MVP last year. However, Parker is aging and suffers
from nagging injuries, leading coaches to put Tait in the game often.
"They've always told me when they're going to put me in, they're going
to put me in regardless of the situation," said Tait. "I'm just glad
they showed a little confidence in me and I didn't let them down."
Tait played crucial downs during the Chief's 16-10 win over Denver, and
seems nearly ready to be named the team's starting left tackle. "I don't
think anybody is surprised at what John Tait is doing," said Chiefs
coach Gunther Cunningham said. "John played well at Denver. I saw one
particular play where a linebacker came around the horn and John matched
up with him and knocked him up the field. John played over 30 plays last
week and he'll continue to play that many or more."
Of course, Tait might have been much further along if he had attended
training camp. "You never know," says Tait. "Obviously, it put me behind
so it probably did hold me back. But I'm starting to come along now."
But Tait also sees room for improvement, "There's so much more I can
learn," he said. "There are so many more things I'm not quite ready for.
It will come in time, but I have a long ways to go."