Jason Avant has been playing football long enough to know how this process goes.
He’s a receiver, a pending free agent, who turns 33 in April. NFL teams are always looking to get younger, especially at the skill positions.
But Avant insists he is not quite done with football yet.
“I’m open to continuing my career,” Avant said. “I’ve expressed interest, heard from some teams, but it’s one of those (where they say), ‘We know you’re available, you’re on our radar.’
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“When you get at this age, teams are going to exhaust young options. They want to see if their young guys pan out before they commit to an older player.”
And if his performance in the Chiefs’ 27-20 AFC divisional-round loss to the New England Patriots on Jan. 16 showed anything, it’s that Avant — a respected locker-room leader and mentor for the Chiefs’ young receivers — has something left in the tank.
Avant caught four passes for 69 yards, which included a leaping 26-yard catch over cornerback Logan Ryan that came on the tail end of a ludicrous scramble and escape by quarterback Alex Smith.
“I’m glad I had an opportunity at the end of the year to show that I can play,” said Avant, who caught 15 passes for 119 yards during the regular season.
Avant, who has been praised by many coaches for his football IQ, said he has been offered coaching opportunities, but he isn’t interested in doing that this year because his kids — he has two girls and a boy — are so young.
“I want to make sure they’re good people — I don’t want to be away from home so much that I can’t invest in them,” Avant said. “Coaching isn’t out of the question, just for the foreseeable future.”
Avant, however, said he’s definitely open to returning to Kansas City as a player. He joined the Chiefs in November 2014 after he was released by Carolina and has immensely enjoyed his time here.
“For one, I love the fact that when people come to the game, everybody’s decked out in red,” Avant said. “They came to support the team, and that can be a difference in the game. It’s a huge factor for a team when you know fans are supporting you unconditionally — that’s a special thing. My family and I had no problem in KC; whether we were 1-5 or won 11 in a row, the fans were the same.”
Avant spent the first eight years of his career in Philadelphia, most of which were under current Chiefs coach Andy Reid, as he used his superior hands, route running and savvy and averaged 39 catches for 456 yards and two touchdowns per season.
The Chiefs have three of their top four receivers from last year — excluding Avant — under contract for 2016.