When Blaine Gabbert made his official recruiting visit to Mizzou in the fall of 2007, he was tentatively committed to Nebraska.
By VAHE GREGORIAN
The Kansas City Star
By the time he left Columbia and host Chase Daniel, he was Mizzou-bound.
"I like to think that my recruiting skills lured him away from the Huskers," said Daniel, the Chiefs No. 2 quarterback, as he looked toward seeing Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in the NFL opener.
Actually, Gabbert’s decision also had something to do with the sense that Nebraska would soon fire coach Bill Callahan, with whom the family had a long relationship.
Still, there was a meaningful connection between Daniel and Gabbert, who are No. 1 and No. 3 respectively on MU’s career total offense list.
Gabbert served as Daniel’s understudy in 2008 and replaced him in 2009 and 2010 before leaving MU after his junior year and being selected by Jacksonville at No. 10 overall in the 2011 NFL.
"It was a great relationship. It really was," Daniel said. "He came in the summer before his freshman year and he stayed with me. We got to be pretty good friends then and still talk to this day."
Daniel had a text exchange earlier this week with Gabbert, asking "from a personal standpoint" how his injured thumb is.
"He’s worked hard … He’s really matured since he got in the league," Daniel said. "Obviously he’s dealing with a thumb issue right now, but we expect him to play and we expect him to play good."
Their roles essentially have been reversed in the NFL.
Gabbert has started 24 games and completed 372 of 691 passes for 3,876 yards and 21 touchdowns with 17 interceptions.
Daniel has thrown nine regular-season passes, completing seven for 55 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He begins his Chiefs career in the on-call role he’s had since his first NFL season with the Saints in 2009.
"Every game, for my entire career, I’ve been preparing to be the starter. You never know. You’re one play away," Daniel said. "So that’s the mindset I took when I was with the Saints, backing up Drew (Brees), and that’s the mindset I’m going to take now.
"You prepare like the starter. Everything you do in your mind is to go out and play the game and play it fast and be prepared for whatever they throw at you."
And if Gabbert is indeed healthy enough to go and that "one play" happens to put Daniel in the game, the mentor and former apprentice will be connected in a whole new way on Sunday.
Reach Vahe Gregorian at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @vgregorian