February 7, 2008

Former Chiefs Great Addresses SCR-I Students

The message was loud and clear… “You can do anything you set out to do.” Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kimble Anders offered his life story as an example of the creed that he professed to live himself.

“I know it sounds like a cliché, something you hear a lot at these motivational speeches, but it is the truth,” Anders told student athletes at Scotland County R-I High School on January 30th during a special assembly organized by first-year athletic director Kevin Gundy.

“I know, because I lived it,” he told the gathering. “I’m not a public speaker, but when coach Gundy asked me to do this, I was happy to try and get this message across to all of you.”

Anders, a three-time NFL Pro-Bowler in the late 1990s, now works as the running backs coach at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS.

But he told the students about a rough upbringing in Galveston, TX. While it was difficult growing up in a drug-infested neighborhood, Anders shared with the kids that he didn’t let his environment rule him, instead he used it as motivation to do something better with his life.

“A lot of folks think that because I played in the NFL or because I was a professional football player and made some money, that I am a success,” he said. “I think the most important thing was that I set out to accomplish something in my life, and I didn’t let anything stop me.”

Anders told the kids that he wasn’t even the most gifted athlete on his own high school team. In all 16 kids went on to major college football programs with another 16 playing for junior colleges.

“I may not have been the best football player on the team, but I tried to work the hardest,” he said.

Anders went to the University of Houston, where he hit another bump in his road to success.

“I fell into the wrong crowd,” he said. “I saw some of the other players who were getting by skipping classes and not working hard, so I tried it too.”

That resulted in a wasted year, as Anders was ruled academically ineligible his sophomore season. He was forced to attend summer school and go the extra yard to get reinstated.

Then after a successful completion of his college career at the University of Houston, scouts told Anders to expect to be drafted anywhere from the second to the fifth round. But his draft-day party didn’t offer much celebration, as Anders was not picked.

He went to Pittsburgh as a rookie free agent, but again dealt with a setback as he was cut at the end of training camp.

“Sure I was disappointed, but I wasn’t discouraged,” he said. “I learned from the experience, the biggest knowledge was that I was good enough to play at this level.”

He took that knowledge with him to Kansas City where he made the Chiefs in 1991 and became a staple in the team’s backfield for nearly a decade. During that time he established numerous records, including the most career receptions by a running back with 369.

But with all his success on the football field, Anders still stressed to the students that he was more proud of the man he had become, not the football player he worked so hard to be.

The father of four said that inspired him to continue as a coach, so he could give back and help young people follow in his footsteps.

“I don’t necessarily mean to the NFL,” he said. “It could be in football, but it doesn’t even have to be sports. You can do anything you set out to do.”

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