Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 5/2/13
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Heres the thing that doesnt make a shred of sense: Collin Klein is a smart guy. Surely, hes watched enough of Tim Tebow to know that this is not the path that lands you at Candy Castle in the end. Surely, hes seen enough NFL games to know that quarterbacks whove been trained to run first, run second, and throw third usually wind up getting their knees bent like a pipe cleaner by some crazed defensive end. Surely, he knows that the guys he used to be able to run over in college are now selling mutual funds. And, in a few months, Klein could well be doing the same, if he keeps riding shotgun on this whole Im-an-NFL-quarterback train. Look, far be it from us to tell Klein, the former Kansas State signal-caller and Heisman Trophy finalist, not to chase his muse. Just about every muse Kleins ever set his sights on, hes a found a way to grab, whether it be through hard work, dedication, skill, or plain guts. The guy didnt just roll out of bed every morning as a Big 12 champion quarterback. Klein put in the sweat, the film study, the hours and the dedication needed to transform himself into a one-man, 6-foot-5 wrecking crew. The Colorado native went out and made his dreams a reality, one first down at a time. But the NFL doesnt care about your dreams, son. The NFL laughs at your dreams. The NFL is a cold, cruel, cynical place run by cold, cruel, cynical people. Players are herded like cattle and ridden like horses until their poor legs finally give out. To paraphrase Eric Winston, they really are our 21st-centry gladiators, trotted out every Sunday for the glory and spectacle of the Roman Empire. The old warriors are phased out, and the new warriors get cycled in. Its the circle of NFL life. And the circle does not care, does not give a monkeys uncle, how swell of a fella you happen to be. Personal charm is about 37th on the list of desirable traits. Klein has that charm in spades, of course. But he has other skills, too, ones much higher up on the desirability list: Hes huge (6-5, 226 pounds); runs awfully well a big guy (4.72 in the 40-yard dash at the combine); and happens to be blessed with hops like a kangaroo (31.5 inches on his vertical during K-States pro day in March). Klein played receiver and special teams as an underclassman with the Wildcats before moving under center full-time. His K-State teammates described him as one of the best basketball players on the football team, a dunking machine with soft hands. The point is this: Klein isnt Sonny Jurgensen; hes preposterously gifted 23-year-old at the height of his prowess. He may be an unconventional passer with funky mechanics, but hes got plenty more in the toolbox. If Klein wanted to, if he really put his mind to it, he could reinvent himself as a receiver or tight end, the way Matt Jones, another freakishly athletic signal-caller in college, did during his transition to the next level. Only Klein doesnt want to. He went undrafted last weekend, then signed with the Houston Texans, a team that already had four quarterbacks on its roster, as a free agent. After landing a spot with the Texans late Saturday, Klein reiterated the stance hes had since late January its quarterback or bust. Which is funny, considering that on Monday, the player to whom Klein is most often compared, Tebow, was released by the New York Jets. The rest of the NFL had until late Tuesday afternoon to put in a claim on the ex-Florida star. None did. As Klein starts to forge a pro path, Tebow, after three NFL seasons, finds himself standing at a crossroads. The Ghost of Christmas Future is howling with one foot out the door. For Klein, theres still time, though, a chance to begin anew. If a position coach down in Houston asks if youd like a few reps with the tight ends, you pull out the charm card and kindly take him up on the offer. Wedge buster? Sign me up! Kleins NFL journey doesnt have to start with his arm, but it could end there. Mores the pity. You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at seanmkeeler@gmail.com
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