Not many players — if any — have made the leap from discus thrower in college to the NFL gridiron on Sundays, but that is exactly what former Mississippi State track athlete Tautvydas Kieras will try to accomplish.
Kieras got a step closer to achieving his goal Friday when he was signed as a linebacker by the Kansas City Chiefs, the team announced.
The Lithuanian native, who also goes by the name “T.K.”, was a record-setting discus thrower until January when he started training to play football. Kieras, who had never played a snap in his life, was motivated by Mississippi State professor Gary Templeton to pursue an NFL career after Templeton timed him in multiple drills last fall.
That began Kieras’ journey to Mississippi State’s pro day earlier this month, where he tied for the highest broad and vertical jumps among all players who participated. His performance was good enough to earn a training camp invite from the Chiefs. Since Kieras did not play in college, he did not have to enter the NFL draft.
At 6-foot-3, 271 pounds, Kieras certainly has the size to play at the next level, but he is still a raw talent. If he makes the Chiefs final roster next season, it will be one of the most unique roads an NFL player has ever taken.
“I love challenges, and this was the biggest one I’ve ever had in my life,” Kieras told hailstatebeat.com. “So, I took it and I embraced it and now it’s going well for me, so far.”