The Kansas City Chiefs are slowly locking up their young players that want to be part of “The Right 53” for years to come. The latest is long snapper Thomas Gafford, who told The Star he wants to be more than just another specialist.
“I want to be the guy that’s running down there, making tackles and a factor in coverage and working my way into a leadership role on the team. That takes a lot of time and blood, sweat and tears with the guys. I don’t want to be just a long snapper. I want to be a factor on the team, too.”
Gafford’s new deal keeps him on the Chiefs’ payroll until the 2012 season expires and will pay him about $1.2 million over the next two years. His previous deal had been set to end after this season.
He said Wednesday that, in the time since, the Chiefs’ specialists — including kicker Ryan Succop and punter Dustin Colquitt — have formed a solid bond.
“I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m happy to be wanted,” Gafford said. “I think Dustin, Ryan and I have a good thing going here, and I’m excited we can be together for the next two years and probably a lot longer after that.”
You have to love the attitude that Gafford is bringing to the table, wanting to do more than just snap the ball. It’s definitely the frame of mind that Todd Haley and Scott Pioli are looking for and that can eventually help the Chiefs special teams be the strength of the team.
With that being said, it would be awfully nice to get some of the bigger pieces locked up, no? Tamba Hali, Jamaal Charles, Brandon Flowers, Dwayne Bowe and Branden Albert will all need new deals over the next two seasons. The uncertainty around a possible work stoppage next year will likely slow down any big money contracts, but hopefully Pioli is still setting the framework for those deals behind the scenes.