Byron Pringle’s best source for everything Kansas City Chiefs before arriving as an undrafted free agent was the biggest fan he knew.
His roommate last season at Kansas State, long snapper David Tullis, became a game-day informant.
“He’d tell me everybody on the roster’s name,” Pringle said. “Somehow, someway I think he was Andy Reid, because he knew when somebody else was coming into the game.”
Pringle looks to add his name to his former roomie’s favorite team. He’s one of 14 undrafted free agents among the 68 rookies, including 10 wide receivers, participating in rookie mini-camp.
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It hasn’t always been a smooth road for Pringle. When he was 16, Pringle was arrested for participation in crimes in Tampa, Fla., that included burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and grand theft. He was sentenced to four years of probation and 100 hours of community service while missing his junior season of high school.
“I take this opportunity as a blessing, coming from where I came from, and I’m trying to capitalize,” Pringle said.
Pringle left Kansas State with a year of eligibility remaining, but at 24 years old, he was ready to make the move.
He had 30 receptions for 724 yards and six touchdowns last season, setting a school record with 24.13 yards per reception. His return game also was strong. Pringle averaged 26.1 yards per kickoff return.
Big plays were common. Pringle had a pair of kickoff return touchdowns in his two years at Manhattan and stands second on the school’s career list of yards per reception and sixth in kick returns.
Coming out of high school, another arrest cost Pringle the opportunity to play at Youngstown State. He surfaced at Butler Community College, and Kansas State coach Bill Snyder needed to be convinced Pringle had turned his life around before offering a scholarship.
“We spent about two hours talking before I committed to it,” Snyder told Star and Wichita Eagle reporter Kellis Robinett in December. “But I was awfully pleased with the sincerity he spoke with and what was important to him. He convinced me he would be the type of guy we want in our program, and he has been every part of that.”
Pringle earned a degree at Kansas State because Snyder and Andre Coleman, Pringle’s position coach and now the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator, believed in him. Coleman was an assistant at Youngstown State and recruited him there.
The 6-foot-1, 203-pound Pringle is now fighting for a place in the NFL. He’s a physical receiver who can get separation but also was credited with 10 drops with his 69 receptions with the Wildcats.
It can be difficult to stand out at camp. Players are working in a new system with players they mostly didn’t know until arriving late last week. It’s difficult to develop any passer-receiver chemistry. Impressions are made in drills and in ability to quickly pick up the language. But Pringle been in tougher spots and likes how this one is unfolding.
“The tempo is different and the verbiage,” Pringle said. “But I think I’m catching on pretty well.”