Ex-Jayhawk Tim Biere seeking ‘niche’

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Throughout most of his college career, former Kansas University tight end Tim Biere faced very little competition for playing time.

Now, as he gets set to open his first NFL training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs, the undrafted free agent finds himself facing stiff competition for a spot on the roster.

One of five tight ends expected to compete at camp, which opens July 27 in St. Joseph, Mo., Biere, 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, is approaching things with an open mind and a hope-for-the-best attitude.

“I’ve made sure to open my eyes and see what they do and how they do it,” Biere said of the team’s veteran tight ends in a recent interview with KCChiefs.com “They’ve been around for a while, so I’m just trying to learn and do whatever the coaches need me to do — find a niche and play all the positions on special teams.”

Biere is the only tight end invited to Chiefs training camp who has no professional experience. Other tight ends vying for a spot on Kansas City’s 53-man roster include: Tony Moeaki, Kevin Boss, Steve Maneri and Steve O’Connell.

Johnson in good spot

A lack of depth at linebacker for the Denver Broncos could mean good news for former KU standout Steven Johnson, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Broncos last April immediately after the conclusion of the NFL Draft.

Johnson, whose best shot entering the draft was to make a team as a special-teams player and build from there, may be closer to landing a spot on Denver’s defensive depth chart than anyone could have predicted.

Denver has very little depth and experience behind returning starters Von Miller, the NFL’s reigning defensive rookie of the year, Joe Mays and Wesley Woodyard, and the situation became even more dire when veteran D.J. Williams was suspended for the first six games of 2012, with the potential for more to come.

That leaves second-year players Nate Irving and Mike Mohamed and sixth-round pick Danny Trevathan as the second unit, with Johnson and two other undrafted free agents immediately behind them.

According to Denver Post beat writer Lindsay H. Jones, Johnson’s performance this offseason has been solid and noticed.

“Johnson drew attention, too,” Jones wrote this week, “and could be a favorite among the undrafted players to land a spot on the 53-man roster.”

Stuckey still standing

San Diego Chargers safety Darrell Stuckey, now in his third pro season, recently served as an honorary captain for a prep all-star game in San Diego.

Stuckey, a fourth-round draft pick in 2010, joined Chargers linebacker Donald Butler at the Alex Spanos All-Star Classic on Friday, proving that he has continued to make performance in the community a strong part of his game.

Coming off of a solid 2011 campaign in which he tied for the team lead in special teams-tackles, Stuckey and the Chargers are hoping Year Three will be his breakthrough season.

“The thing he has, which is just paramount to special teams, is he’s got great speed,” Chargers coach Norv Turner told Chargers.com this offseason. “He’s got great acceleration, and he showed (last) year he’s very competitive as a player. I would love to see him be a guy that evolves into a Pro Bowl special-teams player, but I do believe he’s a guy that’s going to be a very good player for us in the secondary, and I’m anxious for him to take the next step.”