Thursday, August 18, 2011
Gaither and Albert are together again
By Bill Williamson
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- One of the hot topics at the Kansas City Chiefs camp is if Jared Gaither will cause Branden Albert to move to right tackle from left tackle.
Kansas City recently signed Gaither, the former Baltimore left tackle who is coming off a back injury that kept him out all of last year, and he has been practicing behind Albert at left tackle. Yet, Gaither could move into the first team at some point. Or Gaither could move to right tackle and Albert could stay put. The team hasn’t decided what to do yet. But it’s clear they signed Gaither with hopes of him starting.
Whatever happens, Gaither said he and Albert are fine with it. After all, this isn’t their first rodeo together. Gaither and Albert were teammates at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia several years ago as high school players. Gaither said he was the right tackle and Albert was the left tackle. They are close friends.
“It doesn’t matter where we play,” Gaither said. “I just want to play. I just want to fit in wherever I can.”
If I had to guess, this how I see this scenario working: Once Gaither gets the rust off, he’ll get a chance to play left tackle and Albert will be moved. The Chiefs have been taking about moving him for some time.
Regardless of where they play, adding a healthy Gaither will be a boon for Kansas City. He insists his health is not an issue.
“I’m 100 percent healthy now,” said the 6-foot-9, 340-pound Gaither who doesn’t move like a man with a ginger back. “I’m ready to go.”
Their coach at Hargrave, Robert Prunty, is bursting with pride to have his two former players on the same line.
“What a story, can you imagine two players from the same high school line are on the same line in the NFL,” said Prunty, now an assistant at Texas Tech. “It’s amazing … Kansas City has two good players. I’m so proud of them. They are both great kids.”
Remarkably, Prunty coached three other current Kansas City players at Hargrave over the years. They are cornerback Brandon Flowers, tight end Leonard Pope and defensive tackle Jerrell Powe.
Gaither ended up in Kansas City after he visited Oakland early in training camp, but he departed without a contract. It’s been reported the Raiders didn’t like what they saw in his physical. Gaither said he wasn’t sure what the situation was, but added he is pleased the Chiefs wanted him.
If he doesn’t suffer a setback, the feelings surely will be mutual.