John Kling signs with Washington Redskins
Former UB offensive lineman John Kling hopes to make most of second NFL chance
John Kling will get a second chance at making his NFL dream come true.
The Washington Redskins announced they were signing Kling, a former UB offensive linemen, to a free agent contract.
Kling signed a contract with the Chicago Bears last year as an undrafted free agent, but was cut before the season. Kling says he learned a lot from his first run in the league and feels he will have a better chance of sticking around this time.
“The biggest thing I learned is that it’s a business. The NFL’s a business, you have to perform, you have to play well,” Kling said.
Although Kling’s first NFL opportunity did not go as he hoped, former UB quarterback Joe Licata, who played with Kling at UB, says he thinks Kling did not get a fair chance with the Bears.
Licata played in four preseason games for the Cincinnati Bengals last year as an undrafted free agent.
“He didn’t get any reps in the preseason and if he did I know that he would have stuck,” Licata said. “He’s so physically and mentally talented.”
Kling is a Buffalo native who attended Depew High School. At 6-foot-7, 320 pounds he is a physical monster. Kling played 24 games for UB and was part of an offensive line that gave up just seven sacks his senior year.
“He is a beast. He has unbelievable athletic ability that he uses to his advantage,” Licata said. “He has great physical attributes that allow him to compete with the best players in the world. All these tools coupled with enthusiasm for the game makes him an NFL talent.”
Kling has spent time in the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League as he has attempted to keep his NFL dream alive. Kling credits his agent for keeping his name in the loop with NFL teams as he has continued to train and improve his game.
“There was a point when I was wondering [whether I’d get another chance],” Kling said. “But I just kept working out for my next opportunity, I never really gave up on the fact that I was going to play again.”
Kling is hoping his second stop in the NFL will last longer than his first, but it won’t be easy. The Redskins currently have 12 offensive linemen on their roster, a number that is sure to be reduced before the season begins.
“I gotta show ‘em, the coaches, the scouts, I gotta show everyone that I can belong, that I can make it,” Kling said.
Michael Akelson is the senior sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org