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For week ended December 12, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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Tait closer to starting for Chiefs

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."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information