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Sports

Sycamore grad Ben Niemann ready for training camp with the Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Ben Niemann runs a drill during the NFL football team's organized team activities Thursday, May 31, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Ben Niemann runs a drill during the NFL football team's organized team activities Thursday, May 31, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Maybe he will be cut early. Maybe he will make the 53-man roster.

Those decisions are beyond Ben Niemann’s control.

But as the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and Sycamore graduate heads into training camp, he’s focused on controlling what he can and letting the chips fall where they may.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen – that’s all up to the coaches and the GM and the organization,” Niemann said. “All I can do is go in with a good attitude and play as hard as I can and give it a good effort. Whether I make it or not, I’ll have no regrets if I do that. That’s all I can ask for.”

Niemann was signed by the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa. Organized team activities and minicamps came to an end in June, and training camp is set to start July 26.

After participating in the team’s OTAs, he said the mental aspect of the game is something he will have to adjust to – specifically, the size of the playbook.

“It’s really just mental work and preparation,” Niemann said. “At Iowa, the defensive playbook was a lot thinner. There’s just so many more calls and checks at the next level.”

Overall, Niemann said he had a successful run during the OTAs.

“It’s definitely a jump from college to the NFL, obviously,” Niemann said. “You have your top-tier, all-pro players, but after that it wasn’t a crazy jump. There’s definitely a difference, but nothing wild.”

Niemann helped the Spartans reach the Class 5A state semifinals in 2013. At Iowa, he started 40 games in his last three seasons, finishing with 80 tackles, a sack and an interception last year.

Now he’ll get the chance to play football at the highest level.

“I know it’s going to be long practices, physical practices in the heat,” Niemann said. “It’s a step up from college training camps, and it’s going to be demanding. But it’s something a lot of kids have dreamed about for a long time, and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to do it.”

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