Vol. LXI, No. 31
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
CHIEF CONCERN: Jeff Terrell unloads a pass last fall during his magical final season with the Princeton University football team. Terrell passed for 2,445 yards and won the Bushnell Cup, given to the Ivy League's Player of the year, as he led the Tigers to a tie with Yale for the league title. Terrell signed as a rookie free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs this past spring and is currently in training camp with the team at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls.
Jeff Terrell started the fight of his football life last week as he went to training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs.
But as the former Princeton University star quarterback looks to stick with the Chiefs, he is not focusing on the competition at his position.
"I've always just tried to compete with myself," said Terrell, a native of Chagrin Falls, Ohio who was the Ivy League's most valuable player last fall as Princeton tied Yale for the league title.
"When I was a kid, I dreamed of the NFL, but really I just wanted to be the best young quarterback I could be. In high school, I wanted to be the best high school quarterback I could be. The same with college; nothing changes now. All I ask and pray for is that I play to the best of my god-given abilities."
Since graduating from Princeton this past June, Terrell has been logging long hours in his effort to get the most out of himself. The 6'3, 220-pound Terrell spent three weeks in Kansas City, undergoing Organized Training Activities, or OTAs.
A typical day would see Terrell arrive at the Chiefs facility at 7:45 a.m. for a day of meetings, film study, and practice. In the evenings, Terrell was putting in more hours reading and studying the playbook. In addition, Terrell has been sticking to a conditioning and weight lifting program to help him deal with the rigors of the two-a-day practices he will face in training camp.
For Terrell, the arduous schedule hasn't been drudgery. "I love it," asserted Terrell, who passed for 2,445 yards in 2006 on his way to a total of 4,166, the fourth best career total in program history.
"For as long as this dream will last, I wake up every morning knowing my job is to work out and to become a better football player. For someone who loves the game of football, it does not get much better. The key is continually reminding myself how much of a blessing this is and pushing myself everyday to make the most out of this opportunity."
Terrell's main task, as the team convenes at its training camp at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls, is to show that he has mastered the Chiefs' offensive system.
"Princeton's offense is much different than Kansas City's but the depth of our offense at Princeton has helped me understand things better with the Chiefs," said Terrell, who signed with the Chiefs after the NFL draft this spring as a rookie free agent.
"Like anything else in life, it just takes time and focus to learn it. I'd say I'm comfortable with the offense, and know what to do on every play, but I still have a lot to learn before it really slows down for me."
Terrell got a first-hand look at the business-side of the NFL during the recent controversy that ensued when former Chiefs quarterback Trent Green was stuck in limbo with the team as it worked out a trade for Green to the Miami Dolphins.
"The whole situation with Trent Green was a blessing for me," asserted Terrell.
"The longer he stayed around, the more I was able to hang around a Pro Bowl quarterback with an incredible amount of knowledge and savvy about the game of football. I learned a lot from him while he was still in KC. I was really impressed with the way he carried himself and the way he played the game."
The trade of Green put the spotlight on the two returning quarterbacks, Brody Coyle and Duane Huard. Terrell has enjoyed learning from them as well.
"Both guys are open to helping me out, and have been great with offering advice about technique and reading defenses," added Terrell, who also faces competition from Casey Printers.
"I've been impressed with how they have dealt with the QB controversy. Both are great, down-to-earth guys who love the game while being as competitive as it gets."
For Terrell, a devout Christian, his religious faith will be a source of support as he looks to make it in the NFL. "I try to let the pressure, stress, and glory of the NFL rest on the Lord," said Terrell.
"I can hand Him that burden and just trust that no matter what happens, He has a plan for me. Also, I remember that even though the stakes are higher now, God is bigger than even the NFL, and he has control and dominion over it. I just pray that His will be done through this experience, and that I would have great faith and confidence by relying upon Him."
Terrell has also turned to Princeton head coach Roger Hughes for counsel. "Coach Hughes has given me the advice to just enjoy the experience and do everything I can to push myself and make the team," said Terrell. "Put the extra time in, put the extra film work in, whatever it takes."
Putting in that extra time will ensure that Terrell can make the most of his relatively limited chances to shine.
"The biggest challenge will be impressing the coaches with minimal reps," explained Terrell. "I will most likely not be getting a lot of reps so I need to make the most out of my chances. I need to be consistent, both on the field and in the meeting room. I need to know the offense well and be smart with the football."
In the final analysis, Terrell is primed to test himself as never before. "Sure, I'm nervous, but I'm more excited," maintained Terrell. "This is an incredible opportunity to just play the game I love with some of the best players in the world. I'm just going to enjoy it, compete with myself to be the best I can be, and let the Lord take care of the rest."
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