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The Chiefs and NFL by beat writer Terez Paylor

New guard Jeff Linkenbach talks role, fit with Chiefs

03/13/2014 11:28 AM

03/13/2014 11:38 AM

New Chiefs guard Jeff Linkenbach conducted his first conference call with the Kansas City media on Thursday. Here’s what the 26-year-old ex-Colt, who reportedly agreed to a one-year deal

worth $250,000 in guaranteed money, had to say.

What interested you about the Chiefs?

“It starts up top with the GM, (John) Dorsey, and coach (Andy) Reid, who has a tremendous reputation. The o-line coaches, both Andy Heck and Eugene Chung, are just tremendous guys and have a lot of experience in the NFL. I'm just looking to get better at my craft.”

What are they giving you a chance to compete for?

“First and foremost, every year I go in thinking goal No. 1 is to make the team, goal No. 2 is to help the team win however I can. Whatever that role entails, whether it's starting at any position in particular or being the sixth man or seventh man, whatever the Chiefs need me to do to win football games I'm all about.”

Are you a better guard or tackle?

“Honestly, I've played so much everywhere, I feel like wherever I get the most reps during the week, I feel more comfortable during that week. But I've played all four guard and tackle positions and I feel comfortable pretty much anywhere. In college I was a tackle but the past couple of years I've played more guard. So I have more long-term experience at tackle but more recent experience at guard. But I feel comfortable at both so (it's) whatever need be.”

Did you receive much interest from other teams or was KC pretty much it?

“This early in free agency, it's hard to gauge how much interest there truly is. But I think there's always interest for a guy who has the versatility I do. So there's plenty of interest, I'm just happy to get it locked in and over with relatively early.”

What stood out about playing the Chiefs last year?

“The fans are great. They're tremendous and they're passionate about the Chiefs. I really love that, you know, in the playoff game in Indy, there were plenty of Chiefs fans in the crowd, which is odd to see for a playoff game, I guess. Then the year before in 2012, the Colts played in Kansas City the last game of the regular season and you guys weren't doing too well but the fans still came out and it was still one of the louder stadiums I played in that year. So the fan support and passionate fanbase is a big part of me choosing the Chiefs.”

Thoughts on coming to town and blocking for a guy like Jamaal Charles?

“He's just tremendous. Watching him play on tape and in person a couple times, he's a dynamic playmaker. When he gets the ball in his hands running the ball or catching the ball out of the backfield, he's a tremendous blocker and as an offensive lineman you love blocking for a running back who makes you look good.”

When did the Chiefs first reach out to you?

“There was a little interest in the predraft process, not a huge deal on my end. It kind of started then. Then you follow teams as they go and the tampering period started on Friday or Saturday and my agent called me and said you know, the Chiefs are very interested ... it seemed like a good fit, we moved forward and came to terms yesterday.”

With uncertainty at the right guard position, do you see yourself as a starter or playing more of a mentorship role?

“You never know in this business how things are gonna work out. I'm not here to replace anybody, necessarily, I’m just here to compete and I’m for an opportunity to be good. I've been around a while, I still feel I'm young enough to play for a long time and I'm old enough to help school younger guys. You know, the Chiefs' offensive line is one of the youngest in the league, so however I can help whoever, whether that's starting or being a sixth or seventh guy, I'm just looking forward to get in there with the guys and have them get to know me and me get to know them.”


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