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 Gaither glad to be back on field

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Giver of Life
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Posts : 4463
Join date : 2010-03-25
Age : 29
Location : Iowa

PostSubject: Gaither glad to be back on field   Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:44 am

Chiefs’ Gaither glad to be back on field after injury
The Kansas City Star

T wo weeks ago, Jared Gaither faced a group of reporters — at 6 feet 9,
he was more towering over them — and said he was “100 percent” healed
from a serious back injury and that he expected to start on the
offensive line for the Chiefs.

He spent most of the next week on the sideline, missing practices and
two of the Chiefs’ preseason games because of undisclosed injuries.
Gaither, signed during training camp after four seasons in Baltimore,
rejoined practice last week and made his preseason debut Friday in a
14-10 loss to St. Louis.

Afterward, he stood in the locker room and was asked whether he’d like to amend the declaration that he expected to start.

“I hope that every guy that steps on the field, his desire is to be a
starter,” Gaither said. “That won’t ever change for me. I want to work
my hardest till I get there.”

He admitted that he wasn’t perfect against the Rams; he was called for
holding in the second half after replacing Branden Albert at left
tackle. But after missing last season because of a back injury, Gaither
said it was refreshing to play — rusty as he was.

“There’s a lot of things I probably need to improve on,” he said.

When he has practiced, Gaither has worked as the second-team left
tackle. That’s where coach Todd Haley said Gaither would play in the
preseason, usually an evaluation period for most players but perhaps
more so for Gaither considering how long it had been since he played

A little more than a year ago, Gaither began suffering from a nagging
back issue that he later said was a thoracic disk problem that stemmed
from a herniated disk in his spine. The injury didn’t require surgery,
but Gaither spent much of the last year resting his back. The Chiefs
haven’t been quick to rush him back.

“We’re handling him a certain way, as far as first and foremost trying
to get him in a position to compete and try to be part of this team,”
Haley said. “It’s been a little slow going, but we kind of understood
that going in.”

If Gaither is to eventually be a starter, right tackle would seem a more
likely destination. Albert is a former first-round draft pick who’s
beginning his fourth season as the Chiefs’ starting left tackle. The No.
1 right tackle, Barry Richardson, has struggled since becoming a
full-time starter last year, and he was whistled three times for holding
against the Rams.

Gaither said he has never played right tackle, though he spent time
during the 2010 preseason rotating at both tackle positions with the
Ravens’ Michael Oher. Despite his lack of experience, Gaither said he
wouldn’t be averse to trying a full-time move to the right side.

“I’m comfortable wherever Coach plays me,” he said.

He said that, even on a temporary basis, he’s comfortable spending time
in the area of the practice field where injured players are sent to work
on their conditioning instead of practicing. Gaither has become
well-acquainted with the Chiefs’ stationary bikes since joining the
team; he said it’ll take time to get back into football shape.

“It’s things that need to be done,” he said. “A lot of areas that I need to be strengthened in, like I said: It’s been a year.”

Asked whether he still believed he is 100 percent healthy, as he suggested two weeks ago, Gaither paused.

“It’s football,” he said.

But what about the injury that prevented him from playing in 2010?

“My back is 100 percent,” he said.

Haley said he was encouraged not only that Gaither played against the Rams, but also that Gaither didn’t ask to leave the game.

“Those are encouraging signs,” Haley said. “… He’s just got to build on
that, which he’s down there working and trying to get himself ready to

As the regular season approaches, Gaither has backed off his initial
expectation of being a starter. He said he’s preparing as if he’ll be in
the starting lineup Sept. 11 against Buffalo, but even if he’s not, he
said he’ll work hard enough that it’ll give the Chiefs options.

“With that drive, if I’m not a starter, it’ll help push all the guys,”
he said. “It’s really just a mind-set and a work ethic that you have to
have. … A guy can be out there every day and not working hard at all;
he’s wasting time. Every second that I get to be on the field, I’m very
happy, blessed, and I’m going to work hard every time I get out there.”

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PostSubject: Re: Gaither glad to be back on field   Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:05 pm

I still don't see him anywhere but RT unless Albert gets hurt
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