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Nate Eachus rushes way onto Chiefs roster

Posted Sep 1, 2012

Undrafted rookie makes first edition of Chiefs 53-man roster


Everybody loves an underdog and running back Nate Eachus played the role perfectly for the Chiefs this preseason.

Teammates raved about the undrafted rookie from Colgate prior to Thursday night’s preseason finale in Green Bay and Eachus delivered once again on the field with a team-leading 21 carries for 99 yards.

Quarterback Brady Quinn called Eachus, “one of the most selfless players I’ve ever seen.” Others, including Chiefs fans, just called him “Rudy.”

“I think wearing No. 45 is really what it’s all about,” Eachus said of the nickname.

Regardless of the nicknames he might carry (“Nasty Nate” is another), there’s no arguing with Eachus’ preseason production.

Eachus removed his shoulder pads and jersey following Thursday night’s game at Lambeau Field exposing a back covered in red welts, cuts and bruises. He was Kansas City’s workhorse this preseason, finishing the four-game exhibition slate with 34 carries for 206 yards.

All but three of those rushing attempts came in the final two preseason contests.

“I feel like I’ve done everything that I could (to make the team),” Eachus said after the preseason finale. “No matter what happens, I feel like I left everything on the field.”

Eachus’ 206 rushing yards ranked third in this NFL this preseason behind Arizona’s William Powell and Jacksonville’s Rashad Jennings. Both Powell and Jennings made the initial roster of their respected clubs.

“At the end of the day, they’re going to tear up the film and analyze it and take the best 53 players,” Eachus said earlier this preseason. “I’m trying to show them how hard I can work.”

So Eachus volunteered to play fullback when injuries struck the position despite never having played the position before. He’d run with the first-team offense at fullback in the preseason opener against Arizona before moving back to his natural position the following week.

Still, Eachus needed to do much more in order to make the team’s 53-man roster. Peyton Hillis, Jamaal Charles and Shaun Draughn all looked like locks to make the team and sixth-round draft pick Cyrus Gray was the AFC’s leading rusher following the first week of preseason play.

As it turns out the Chiefs would end up keeping five running backs on the first editing of their 53-man roster.

An injury to Gray left the door open for Eachus to command a higher workload and he quickly became a fan favorite when he rushed for 98 yards on 10 carries in the second half of Kansas City’s lopsided loss to Seattle week three of the preseason.

Eachus exited to a standing ovation and fans chanted “Rudy,” as he made his way to Arrowhead’s 50-yard line tunnel.

“If you can get on the field and produce, somebody is going to see you,” Eachus said.

His bloodied elbow stood out against Seattle. Against Green Bay he lost his helmet fighting for extra yardage. The former wrestling state champion made quite a case to make the Chiefs roster.

NFL rosters are extremely fluid in the days following preseason’s final cut-down date, but Eachus is part of the first 53 on Kansas City’s 53-man roster. He’s one of only two undrafted rookies to make the team this year joining former Kansas State safety Tysyn Hartman.

Not bad for a guy coming from a non-scholarship football program.

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