After playing college football at South Dakota State, Bryan Witzmann went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft, signing with the Houston Texans after the draft.
His stint in Houston lasted just a few months, and for the next few seasons, Witzmann spent his time in the NFL as a journeyman. That journey ended last September, when the Chiefs claimed the offensive lineman off waivers.
He played the entire 2016 season with the Chiefs, only logging four offensive snaps and 49 on special teams. Even so, Kansas City saw enough from Witzmann to sign him to an extension on Thursday.
“He’s got some good length — strong guy, he’s smart,” Chiefs quarterback coach Matt Nagy said. “The thing with him is just getting some experience on that line and then communicating with those guys up front.”
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The extension will keep Witzmann in Kansas City through the 2018 season.
“It’s great to know they are committed to me and that they believe in me,” Witzmann said Sunday. “It makes me want to go out there and prove it even more and honor their commitment to me.”
The commitment has been more than just an extension. Witzmann has seen several reps at left guard with the first-team offense through the first three days of camp.
He and Zach Fulton are sharing those reps, but Fulton has also served as the second-string center, so Witzmann is receiving a full opportunity to win the job while projected starter Parker Ehinger recovers from his torn ACL.
Witzmann is doing his best, however, to keep the mind-set of day-by-day, despite having a solidified role on the team.
“I approach it as an everyday thing,” Witzmann said. “I am fighting for my life every day. I would not even say it’s a solidified role. I just go out and try to fight every and try to prove myself, and that motto does not change.
“I am just doing whatever they ask of me, trying to do my best, and I hope they see that.”
It’s been just three days, but Chiefs coach Andy Reid can tell Witzmann has been competing in any role he’s been put in.
“Bryan Witzmann is at the left guard spot,” Reid said on Sunday. “He’s in the rotation. He’s in there competing. I will have to take a look at the tape to see how he did, but he’s in there competing for the opportunity.
“He’s a tough kid.”
Witzmann has the chance to go from the practice squad in recent years to a starter in 2017, and he credits that to his due diligence and hard work.
“I just kept working and I put my time in, and I think that shows,” Witzmann said.