Two weeks after being called (jokingly) by his quarterback to his tame sack celebration, Kansas City Chiefs defensive end George Karlaftis remains unconcerned.
“I don’t think that’s very important to me,” Karlaftis said in a remark to reporters ahead of Monday’s practice session. “Only the dismissal, everything else is trivial.”
The 30th overall pick in the April draft focused his remarks on professionalism after realizing how much more difficult time management is as a pro than as a collegiate player.
“In college, you live two minutes from the facility,” he recalls. “Here you sometimes have a bit of a ride. The opening times are slightly different. I tried to have a routine similar to college and just adapt it to what I needed here in Kansas City. It runs fine; I think I’ve found a routine for the most part.”
Part of this routine is combining job responsibilities in a way that seems like it unconventional means.
“We’re here from a certain time to a certain time,” Karlaftis explained. “It’s really about multitasking. If you do two things at the same time – whether I get a massage or something [and] try to watch movie. [Or] whether I’m the sauna or a cold tub – things like that.”
He understands the importance of the time he spends in the building – and is determined to make the most of every minute.
“I like to watch movies – or talk to the coach on the phone while I’m in the sauna,” Karlaftis claimed. “Get my recovery and I find it enormous to do several things at the same time. Because there’s a certain part of the day when I’m not here. So I definitely try to maximize everything and use my time as efficiently as possible so that I can become the best player that I can be. That’s what I’m about.”
Karlaftis readily admits he doesn’t currently see himself as the best player he can be, despite a successful camp by most reports and multiple splash plays in preseason.
“I think I definitely have a lot of things to improve on,” he admitted. “He definitely showed some good things on the tape too, but definitely a whole lot that I need to improve on.”
Despite his dogged approach, most of his stated areas of improvement involved refinement rather than lack of understanding.
“Only subtleties in the game,” identified Karlaftis. “On certain pass rush reps, you do this differently than that. You always want to win and you always want to have an edge. Striving for perfection in everything you do.”
He also expressed consolation with Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s playbook.
“I think every day,” Karlaftis remarked, “I feel more and more comfortable. Learning the playbook now means knowing the playbook and all that stuff. Now it’s more about honing your technique and becoming a better footballer.”
The former Purdue Boilermaker also credited Frank Clark, the Chief’s defensive end, with helping him through his first camp.
“Frank was great – he took me under his wing,” boasted Karlaftis. “His work speaks for itself. He was great for the space, a great leader. He’s been great to me in teaching me everything the guys taught him as a rookie in Seattle. He was great.”
Playing his first regular-season game of his career, Karlaftis denied any added nervousness. He believes his previous thorough approach will serve him well in his Chiefs career on Sept. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.
“For me, everything counts,” he explains. “Exercises, walkthroughs and all that stuff. I try to take it as seriously as possible, so you come to game day and you’re everywhere. In any case, try to take everything as seriously as possible so that no moment seems too big.”
Kalafatis has already wowed many Chiefs fans with the relentless play they’ve seen from him in the three preseason games. For many, however, the biggest question remains as to what his nickname should be. The Greek EDGE rusher seemed no more interested in nicknames than in sack celebrations – but he backed a contender.
“I like Angry George,” he replied. “That’s not bad.”