KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -If Paul Tagliabue had put off retirement just one more year, Tank Tyler might be a richer man today.
That's one way to look at it. Another is to just say he messed up and got in trouble and dropped to the third round of the NFL draft after Roger Goodell, Tagliabue's successor, announced his crackdown on the ``character issue.''
The second way is how Tyler has chosen to view his world. What happened in a couple of incidents during his playing days at North Carolina State was his fault. He learned his lesson. Now, he's setting out to make the most of an excellent opportunity with Kansas City.
The Chiefs are greatly in need of what a 6-foot-2, 315-pound defensive tackle who bench-presses 510 pounds has to offer.
``I feel like I'm in a very good situation,'' Tyler said Sunday during a break in the Chiefs' three-day rookie minicamp. ``The D-linemen who are here are great and I can learn from them. And I can come in and start playing right away, so I'm in a good position.''
Help on the defensive line is one thing the Chiefs need. That's why they took versatile Turk McBride, a 6-2, 278-pounder from Tennessee in the second round and used their third-round pick on Tyler.
Both are certain to get plenty of opportunities, especially if they can put some pressure on the passer. That was something else the Chiefs were sorely lacking last year in Herm Edwards' first season as head coach.
If nothing else, the two rookies with the catchy nicknames will provide depth, allowing starting tackles James Reed and Ron Edwards to stay fresh.
``Obviously, they've got a lot of energy,'' Edwards said during a break in the hot-weather workouts.
``Last year a lot of young guys started playing for us, and that's the plan this year,'' Edwards said. ``I think if you let them play, they get better as they play. So, yeah, if they do what they anticipate doing, they'll be in the rotation.
``You look at us last year, we were short a lot. Now, this year we should be a lot better there because we'll have more depth.''
Tyler, in the opinion of some draft experts, might have been a late pick in the first round, or certainly a solid second-round choice. But he was disciplined for a spitting incident during a game at Southern Mississippi. And he was also linked to off-the-field controversy in an incident at a nightspot in Raleigh, N.C.
It was nothing major. But with Goodell making an issue of player misconduct, many clubs might have been scared off by off-the-field trouble.
If so, it was a tough break for Tank. There's a big difference between first-round money and third-round money.
But Tyler says he's not one to worry about what might have been.
He's not even going to say if that's what dragged him into the third round.
``Only the GMs and teams were in control of that. I'm not in control of that,'' he said. ``I'm just happy I'm out here playing football and not sitting home. The people who have seen me play on ESPN and seen me play at North Carolina State, they've seen what type of defensive tackle I am. I think I'm a pretty good defensive tackle. I still have a long way to go and I have to work every day to become great.
``I had a couple of incidents that kept me down a little bit. But they didn't keep me down, they kept me moving forward. I go through things in life and I learn from it and that's what made me the man that I am today. I don't look back.''
McBride played both tackle and defensive end at Tennessee, and the Chiefs have said he might be asked to maintain that versatility with them. But he might also get a chance to start the first four games at defensive end while Jared Allen sits out a suspension Goodell handed him for DUI convictions.
``Tank is a big, strong, powerful guy inside. He can run,'' Edwards said.
``McBride, we can have him at end. He's a pretty good end. He can really change direction and he can chase down the ball from the backside. He's got a lot of speed. Those are the things you saw in college, and they've done them out here in shorts.''
McBride admits it would be easier if they just gave him one position and stuck to it. But that doesn't sound like it's going to happen.
``McBride can play on end on first and second down and then go inside and rush the passer,'' Edwards said. ``We feel pretty good there. They've got to stay healthy and they've got to play good. But we've got some guys there who are pretty good players.''

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