Keyaron Fox expects to battle for a starting spot.
Last season was a difficult one for Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Keyaron Fox. A third round pick out of Georgia Tech in 2004, the young linebacker suffered an injury to his left quadriceps in training camp, and spent the first four games of the season as an inactive.
Once healthy, Fox spent the remainder of the year as a special teams’ player, recording nine tackles, and saw some action with the regular defense against the Denver Broncos in December. Still, the Atlanta native was frustrated, languishing on the bench. This year, Fox is intent on taking matters into his own hands.
“It was real difficult (to sit last year). I didn’t really take it the right way,” Fox said. “I kind of handled it like a rookie. But this year, one of my objectives was to come out here and to play like a vet, and to demand respect, and to demand people to recognize me. I couldn’t do another season on the bench like that.”
Fox went into the off-season determined to catch the attention of the entire coaching staff, ratcheting his game to new heights. The second year linebacker has been a force since OTA’s began in May, making his presence known all over the field. This year he hit the practice field running, determined to show everyone the caliber of player he his. Fox is confident that he’s ready, and has improved on last year’s performance.
“Right now, I’m feeling pretty good about the season, feeling good about the offseason, my preparation for this training camp, and I feel pretty good about my knowledge of the defense right now. So I think that’s the biggest difference between this year and last year,” he said.
Fox feels he didn’t get the opportunity to show what he can do last season. Now with an entire NFL off-season under his belt, and being back to full health, Fox finally has the chance to prove he belongs.
“For me personally, I don’t think he really got to see what I can do last year,” said Fox. “So this year, since the offseason, since training camp, (Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham) has really been coaching me real tough, because he sees the type of player that I am, so he expects me to continue and not mess anything up, and continue for me to go out here and make plays, and continue to go out here and do my assignments, so I know that I’ve got to carry that throughout the year.”
Now, Fox has made it difficult for the Chiefs to decide who’s going to be manning the left outside linebacker spot. He knows each repetition is precious, and he’s playing with fervor, determined to stand out to the Chiefs defensive staff. Fox knows that with other talented linebackers on the team, each determined to carve out his place, he’s going to have to work hard to stay with the starting defense.
“I already know there’s going to be competition for the spot, you know, cause both those guys, with Scott coming off starting last year, had an injury, and with DJ being picked first round, everyone’s wanting that number one spot right now.”
With training camp in full swing, Fox is resolute. The fire in him burns hotter with every rep, every drill. He’s a man on a mission, determined to be running out with the starting defense on September 11. It’s going to difficult, but Fox wants everyone from the coaching staff, to his teammates and to the fans, to know that his going to be very tough to take what he believes is his starting spot.
“Football’s a competitive sport, you know, I’m not trying to put anything out there, but it’s definitely going to be a competition for it,” Fox says with conviction.