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Finding A Way

Posted Sep 7, 2010

From the Quebec University Football League to the NFL, Cory Greenwood has found a way

Rookie LB Cory Greenwood said that he doesn’t listen to Coach Todd Haley’s press conferences. If he did, Greenwood would have known that he was one of the young linebackers sitting on the roster bubble shortly before the Chiefs cut down to 53 players.

In his final press conference before the close of the preseason, Haley specifically mentioned Greenwood, along with fellow rookie free agent Justin Cole and veteran David Herron, as players that could help the Chiefs with their special teams mentality. The problem was that there weren’t enough roster spaces to carry all three players.

As it turns out, both rookies made the cut following the tight competition. Cole and Greenwood also happened to turn in key plays in the preseason win over Green Bay. For Greenwood, that play came on special teams when he nearly blocked the Packers first punt of the game and then peeled back to lay a key block on LS Brett Goode that helped spring CB Javier Arenas for a 44-yard return to the Green Bay 33 yard line. 

“I knew that game was going to come down to a couple of plays and I knew that I wasn’t going to get too much on defense, so I had to make the most of it on special teams,” Greenwood said. “I got fortunate, but I wanted to block that punt on the first punt return. But getting that block to spring Javier for a good return kind of set the pace for the rest of the game.

“I was just trying to get the most dangerous man, so I found their long snapper,” Greenwood laughed.

It’s not often that Haley tips off the about personnel thinking, but he’s developing a track record of yielding clues towards future 53-man members when it comes to rookie linebackers.

Last year, as you might remember, Haley praised undrafted rookie LBs Jovan Belcher and Pierre Walters for their special teams play shortly before the conclusion of camp. When the 53-man rosters came out, both Belcher and Walters were a part of it. This year, the rise of Cole and Greenwood from unknown to Kansas City Chief played out nearly the same way.

Exactly when Greenwood arrived on the radar of NFL teams still remains somewhat of a mystery.

The natural-born Canadian played football at Concordia University in Montreal, members of the Quebec University Football League. Though one of the most decorated players in school history, Greenwood found it difficult to get serious looks from NFL teams. But shortly after being drafted third overall by the Argos in the CFL Draft, Greenwood received a call from Kansas City.

 “There always was some interest, but that’s as far as it went,” Greenwood explained. “I guess my stock rose just a little bit when I was drafted third overall to Toronto, so all you can do is make the most of it.”

Greenwood showed the first signs of “making the most of it” when he turned in an impressive performance in the Chiefs intra-squad scrimmage at Spratt Stadium during training camp. He seemed to show up everywhere that day, displaying plenty of quickness, good instincts and a nose for the football in the process.

By simply getting an invite to training camp Greenwood defied the odds of a position player that didn’t play football in the United States. He defied even heavier odds by actually making the team.

“It’s pretty special and it’s something that I have been working towards since my freshman year of university and who would have thought that I would have come in here after all the combines and stuff and actually gotten a shot?”

For Greenwood, the next challenge will be even harder. He’s now in the zone of constant turnover; one of the final roster slots on the 53-man roster. His staying power will be tested, but that’s nothing new to the player who didn’t appear on an NFL roster until May 18th of this year.

 “For guys like me, who are on the back-end of the roster, you really can’t get comfortable because they are always trying to improve the team,” Greenwood said. “I have to come in here and work hard every day and prove that they made a good choice in keeping me. I have to earn my keep.

“Just because the preseason is over and final cuts are done doesn’t mean much for me,” Greenwood continued. “You have to keep working hard and impress everybody, so you have to keep pushing.”

For more on Greenwood’s background, take a look at his rookie profile that appeared on kcchiefs.com this summer. While you’re at it, check out Cole’s too.

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