Kelechi Osemele had been to a birthday party in San Francisco when he received the call from his agent. About 24 hours after Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opted out of the season, the Kansas City Chiefs had suddenly signed him to a one-year contract.
“I was pretty excited,” Osemele said. “I was fired. It’s clear that the first thing I thought of was playing with (Patrick) Mahomes, and then I accidentally leaked his phone number because I [was using] Instagram. I made a video, and it had his number out there, and I had to download it really fast. But I was so excited, I did not even think about it. I was pretty hyped.
“My agent called me and immediately, the first thing I thought about was that this is a really good team, we have a chance to win a championship. I have not won one ̵
Osemele, 31, was the left-back for the Baltimore Ravens when they defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
“I immediately thought, this should be a beautiful way to face a long NFL career.”
Before the Chiefs lost to Duvernay-Tardif for the season, they were already in need of a left-back, where Osemele has played for most of his career. Osemele made the Pro Bowl twice as a left – back in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Head coach Andy Reid and his chiefs of staff coached Osemele during the 2016 Pro Bowl.
“I sure like him,” Reid said. “We had him in the Pro Bowl for a year, and I liked him there as a guy and I’m glad he’s with us. It builds a depth for us and competition … which generates good offensive line play. Each position plays when you have that type of competition. (Offensive line coach) Andy Heck works all these guys in, so he keeps a rotation going and they’re all kind of interchangeable there – as Andy does. “
Osemele said he is open to playing wherever managers need him.
“When I came into this game, I was a tackle,” he explained. “I have never played guard in my life. I’m pretty open. They just said I’ll be in a rotation. I’m learning the game book right now. There are many wrinkles to learn, but somehow, shape or form I can help, I am happy to just do my part, help a franchise that knows how to win continue to do so. “
Successful offensive lines work in unison, so building chemistry will be the key – a task that can prove more difficult than usual without some pre-season games. But whether he’s winding down next to left tackle Eric Fisher or right tackle Mitch Schwartz, Osemele described how the chemical part of it is already coming.
“We are here 7-8.00 to 18.00, so we are around each other all the time, cracking jokes, sharing music, just hanging out – lifting weights and stuff, so that’s kind of how we build our chemistry here right now,” he said. “As for what I’ve seen with these guys (Fisher and Schwartz), [they’re] technical sound. Two of the most technical audio components I have seen play the game. I’ve been around the game for a while, and I would say that they are really high up when it comes to technology.
“They are very consistent. It’s something I definitely need to work on to get to that kind of level, so it’s something I can learn from them. But what I think I bring with it is the physics – the finish, the aggression. That’s definitely what I bring to the table, so hopefully I can learn from them and they can learn from me in terms of that kind of intensity, especially on Sundays. ”
Leaders driving back DeAndre Washington, who played with 6-foot-5 Osemele as a member of the Oakland Raiders, can attest to that.
“He’s a dog,” Washington said. “He is unique. When he runs back he’s one of those guys you know he’s driving behind, he’s going to impose his will on who’s in front of him, he’s finishing guys. Kelechis is one of my favorite O-linemen I have ever played with. “
Last season, Osemele was responsible for protecting Sam Darnold after three seasons protecting Derek Carr. While no one exactly profiles as the reigning Super Bowl MVP in Mahomes, he noted that Darnold and Carr moved enough so that he could meet well in defense of his new quarterback.
That is – as long as he is not distracted by watching his throw.
“It’s been crazy to see him on the practice just randomly throwing the ball 70 yards,” Osemele said, “just like hitting it. It’s been crazy to see – he has a lot of talent and his speed too, just like in alternative games and stuff. In addition to his intelligence, all the different cadences he rattles through. And checking audiences and stuff. For a guy who’s young to have such command, his confidence is pretty impressive for how young he is. It’s been pretty cool to see first hand. close up. “
Osemele’s experience in New York was short-lived when he did not agree with the team on shoulder surgery. Osemele’s doctor suggested he needed surgery, and the Jets did not agree.
Osemele filed a complaint against the Jets, who then released him. He underwent surgery to repair a broken labrum, and now he says he feels strong. He described how he recently put up 375 pounds on the bench press five times.
“I’m just happy to be able to put it behind me right now and just focus on being here and being part of an organization like this – I’m definitely looking forward to moving on to the next chapter here and winning some football games. “