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yashi
07-01-2009, 05:08 PM
Young Chiefs lineman Albert is trying to be a leader - Kansas City Star (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/1300023.html)


It wasn’t easy for Branden Albert to sit at the barbecue joint and take a pass on the ribs, the brisket, the pulled pork — everything. It wasn’t easy to keep his mind on a strict offseason diet and exercise plan and ignore the meat-scented air and the colleague across from him, digging in.

“You’re sitting right there,” Albert said Tuesday, “and everybody’s enjoying the food.”

Everybody except Albert. Heck, even first-year coach Todd Haley and general manager Scott Pioli ran into Albert that day at Jack Stack. They wondered what the Chiefs’ most promising offensive lineman — a second-year left tackle who reported in March to offseason practice at 341 pounds, 26 pounds heavier than his 2008 playing weight — was doing at a barbecue restaurant. After Albert had done so well to lose more than 30 pounds, had his willpower already been put on the smoker?

Then they saw the strangest thing: An NFL offensive lineman without a plate in front of him. Carry on, they told Albert.

“You know how easy it is to fall off,” Albert said. “One day you can be on point, and then the next day …”

He trailed off and then continued.

“I’m trying to be a leader, and I’m trying to win games. Coach Haley and Scott were on me so hard about: ‘You know what type of guy you can be. So why don’t you be that guy?’ ”

So Albert pushed away the barbecue and the weakness, started running and began carrying his lunch in plastic containers. Boring containers with boring lunches inside: grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and meals that had all the flavor of a manila envelope.

Leader. That’s the word that kept bouncing in Albert’s mind. The Chiefs need strong voices, especially considering that four-time Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters hasn’t made it known whether he’ll line up with the Chiefs in 2009. The offense needs a leader, and Albert said he wants to prove he’s up to the challenge, even if he is entering only his second NFL season.

Albert worked to lose the weight — he said he’s down to 305 pounds, the lightest he’s been since spending a season at a Virginia prep school five years ago — and he began noticing the results. He was suddenly out front during players’ running sessions. Haley praised Albert in news conferences and in private, the stone-faced coach telling his left tackle that he had something special — but he could only tap into it if he was willing to work.

That’s something I’m trying to establish myself,” Albert said. “Getting my body in the best shape was the first step. I can’t preach something that I’m not doing.”

Then he started thinking of other ways he could grab his teammates’ respect and his city’s admiration. He thought of ways he could expand his reach beyond the Chiefs’ locker room. He visited Children’s Mercy Hospital and donated tickets to another organization.

Then Albert involved himself with the Love Fund, taking over the spot that Waters once held. And whether that means Waters continues to distance himself from the Chiefs or that the veteran is simply handing off to his young teammate, Albert said he wants Kansas City to know that, even after six wins the last two seasons, there are still some things worth smiling about.

“I want to be a face in the community that people know,” Albert said. “They know the name but don’t know the face. I want them to come up and talk to me and not be scared. I want people to come relate to me.”

“They love their football here. They love their football just like a college town. They want winners. It’s important that we let them know that this new regime we have, it’s going to come to pass this year.”

Albert said he has no idea whether Waters will play the 2009 season. Albert said he still considers Waters a mentor, the man who taught the youngster about sacrifice and community service and restraint — and the rewards that might be waiting if the young lineman stays focused.

Albert said it’s too early to call him a potential Pro Bowler. He said he doesn’t want that kind of pressure following him around. He has enough pressure as it is, staving off his outspoken appetite.

“You can treat yourself every once in a while,” he said. “You just can’t make it a habit.”

He said there’s too much to lose and too many people now watching him to succumb to dangerous routines. Albert said he wants to emerge this season as one of the NFL’s best tackles, and he knows that won’t come easy. He acknowledged the work that remains for himself and the Chiefs, and he doesn’t want to add more work than he has to.

“A lot of people might say I’ve got the tag of being the franchise left tackle or whatever,” he said. “I just want people to know that I take this serious.”

pbatrucker
07-01-2009, 06:56 PM
Sounds like we have a rising star at LT.

Three7s
07-01-2009, 09:24 PM
This guy is gonna be a stud.

Big Daddy Tek
07-02-2009, 12:36 AM
There is one thing that I am positive about. Our players will be as good as they can be this year. They will be in tip top physical condition, they will be used in the best way to make them succeed and they willl be accountable for their actions. As far as Branden Albert goes... Nice to have you back at left tackle Willie!

pbatrucker
07-02-2009, 11:46 AM
Soren Petro had Braden Flowers on his podcast yesterday. It was very interesting. www.kcchiefs.com (http://www.kcchiefs.com)
Fan zone and then podcasts.

KottkeKU
07-02-2009, 01:38 PM
since when is Waters not sure about lining up for the Chefs in 2009? I thought we went through this a long time ago when him and Pioli first met, Waters had some negative energy....but then they all said "Brian Waters is under contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, he is going to be a big part of our offense in 2009..." s basically he was just a whining athlete...getting paid millions.

did i miss something?

--On another note, it sounds like Albert is making some mental improvements...lets hope it translates on the field...there isnt a doubt in my mind the guy can be a solid LT, he just needs to stay on the field this year...

Three7s
07-02-2009, 07:32 PM
since when is Waters not sure about lining up for the Chefs in 2009? I thought we went through this a long time ago when him and Pioli first met, Waters had some negative energy....but then they all said "Brian Waters is under contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, he is going to be a big part of our offense in 2009..." s basically he was just a whining athlete...getting paid millions.

did i miss something?

--On another note, it sounds like Albert is making some mental improvements...lets hope it translates on the field...there isnt a doubt in my mind the guy can be a solid LT, he just needs to stay on the field this year...
The media is just trying to find a story and they're just targeting Waters and Vrabel because they're the easiest targets.