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Someone to Cheer For -- DT Matt McGlothlin

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I wouldn’t give Mel Kiper a run for his money, Wild Bill has Desmond Bailey. I’m a Sunday NFL kind of guy not a college football type of guy. What is fun is looking for that player we can all root for once the draft and signing rookie free agents is done. I’m searching for a “Rudy” and I believe the Kansas City Chiefs may have one in DT Matt McGlothlin.

To have the Rudy factor they need lots of compassion, guts and no quit. It has to be someone who’s beaten the odds and doesn’t know what “give up” means.

I do this every year. I did it with Benny Sapp, who’s found opportunity, and Boomer Grigsby who’s still looking. I also took a look at Derrick Ross, who’s having his way in NFL Europe.

I’ve probably been off more than I’ve hit the mark, but its fun and teams do find these sorts of players. The draft is just one way to get to the NFL, but plenty have taken the other road. Detours aren’t always easy.

These players are worth cheering for, not to mention the added value they bring to a team.

A player that’s drafted has the physical qualities and abilities to get to the NFL. That’s what experts see, at least on the outside, but what’s on the inside caused me to notice McGlothlin.

”He was just crazy, different than anybody I’d met,” said Tennessee teammate Constantin Ritzmann. “But then you get to know him, and he’s a great guy. Everybody loves him. But what everybody loves best about him is the way he plays the game. He’s the kind of guy you want to line up against because you know what you’re going to get on every play.”

McGlothlin was dubbed the walk-on wonder. To do it once was a long shot, but twice shows what kind of person he is, because he had to earn his scholarship. His mentality has gotten him to the NFL, and better yet to a team that happens to be looking for help on the defensive line.

McGlothlin is in the right place at the right time and with a head coach who’s looking for his kind of people. Hard working!

What really grabbed me with McGlothlin is what he did to defensive line coach Tim Krumrie. Yeah, he threw Krumrie to the ground during his Pro Day. Players like Alan Branch struggled with Krumrie. Krumrie was tagged by some as the “Pit-Bull” guy.

“Justin Harrell and I had just gone through a grueling number of agility drills and were both exhausted, and then coach Krumrie was the end finale,” said McGlothlin. “Basically, our job was keeping Krumrie’s hands off of us, meaning not to let him grab our chest (like offensive linemen are taught).

Justin went first and it was a disaster, coach Krumrie basically had him begging for mercy. Then it was my turn. At the start, I tried to just keep him from grabbing me at all, but I knew the scouts wanted to see how I reacted if an offensive lineman were to get his hands on me, so I let him grab me. By using coach Krumrie’s weight and momentum against him I was able to throw him off balance, which I’m sure most college defensive lineman could not do. This was all possible because I’ve been trained in martial arts since I was 4 years old and hold four black belts. Also, just recently, I was certified to be an International Martial Arts Instructor on March 25.”

McGlothlin earned his Brazilian black belt in 2½ years when it takes a normal person 10 years.

“When I want something,” says McGlothlin. “I go at it 110 percent!”

When asked the one thing about himself he would tell an NFL team McGlothlin said, “There will be NOBODY who outworks me on the football field, in the weight room, film room, or anywhere else within your organization!”

That’s confidence, but I believe him, because despite there being more talented tackles on the Vols McGlothlin was the one running with the first team.


“We talk here about unbelievable effort,” said Tennessee defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks. “Matt knows what that means. A young guy has to learn what that means. It’s not just great effort. It’s going that extra mile. Matt has made himself a position. Nobody gave him anything. He’s fought for everything and does every drill and every play. He’s a guy who appreciates every snap he gets. He loves to play the game. That’s what you’re supposed to do, play it for the love of the game.”

He was nicknamed the Tasmanian Devil on the field.

McGlothlin never played defense in high school, he was an overweight center.

“I definitely came out of nowhere,” said McGlothlin, who has shed more than 30 pounds since his high school days. “I don't know. I just guess busting you’re a… every day will get you somewhere.”

Even though McGlothlin was the shortest tackle with the Vols he was the most driven and worked what he did have going for him to perfection.

“If you’re undersized, you have to be extra aggressive,” he says. “But it helps you in pad leverage. The big guys like John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth (both 6-feet-6) had to work really hard to keep their pad level down. Guys like me and Jesse (Mahelona)…we’re already short, so it gives us an extra edge in leverage. Still, you have to be extra aggressive and quick to make use of the leverage.”

He credits his martial arts and how he’s managed to fuse it into his play helping him exceed expectations and rise above limitations. But the way he sees it there isn’t any boundaries when you want it bad enough.

“I'm up for this challenge and will do whatever I have to do to get better,” said McGlothlin. “The thing I've realized the most since getting here (Tennessee) is that it’s not all about size. At my position, it’s about pad leverage and how bad you want it.”

He has the Rudy factor!

A quality guy to what’s looking like a pretty good defensive line for the Chiefs. You just can’t go wrong with signing players like these. I don’t know where things will end up for McGlothlin, but I just can’t help to believe an attitude like his won’t translate into something. Be looking for this kid, and don’t be surprised if you hear Herman Edwards talking about him.

“We were watching the Falcons practice this summer,” Brooks said. “Dan Reeves said of all the kids he's ever seen in all of his years coaching, he’s never seen one who practices as hard every play as Will Overstreet. That’s the kind of guy Matt is. He practices every play like it’s a play in the game.

“If you could take that and put it in the more talented guys you have, you’d have a bunch of All-Americans.”

I seem to remember Rudy’s coach saying something like that.

Good day, Chief fans!

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