Kansas City Chiefs Sign Lithuanian Tautvydas Kieras

According to CBS Sports and several other sources, the Kansas City Chiefs have signed Lithuanian track and field star Tautvydas Kieras, to a contract. The twist is that Kieras, who is a world class discus thrower, has never played a down of football in his life.

The 6’3″, 271 lb Lithuanian was on a track and field scholarship at Mississippi State when his eligibility ran out. At the urging of one of his professors, he decided to give American football a try.

Kieras had never even seen a football game until he arrived on campus in 2014. He fell in love with it immediately. Knowing he could not play at the college level because of his ineligibility, he turned to Athletic Gaines and began training to play football in Las Vegas prior to Mississippi State’s pro day last week.

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Photo courtesy Athletic Gaines

He took part in pro day, repping the 225-pound bench press 24 times, running an unofficial 4.69 40-yard dash, earning a vertical leap of 35 inches and a broad jump of 9-foot, 8-inches. His broad and vertical jumps were tied for the highest of any athlete measured at the pro day, according to the Mississippi State school website. Had he attended the NFL Combine, his bench press numbers would have ranked him third overall among linebackers.

Apparently, plenty of scouts were impressed. Based on his numbers, the Kansas City Chiefs were willing to take a chance.

It’s not very often that an NFL team signs a player without a football background. Usually, it is a case of a basketball player moving over to play tight end. However, the Chiefs did sign Efe Obada from the London Warriors a couple of weeks ago. When he went initially to the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, he had only played five games of American football.

If Kieras is half as good at football as he was at throwing the discus, then he might end up making the Chiefs‘ roster. In 2015, Kieras set the MSU school record with a 196-11 throw in the discus.

Kieras is not the only player in the NFL from this part of Europe. Estonian Margus Hunt made the similar jump from track and field to football and now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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