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Orson Charles Went From Scout Team “Player of the Week” to Active Roster

Posted Nov 30, 2017

Charles was called up to the active roster earlier this week

Earlier this week, the Kansas City Chiefs placed third-year tight end Ross Travis on waivers, and subsequently brought up Orson Charles from the practice squad.

Charles, who played collegiately at the University of Georgia, has seen action in 31 games after entering the league as a fourth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012. He’s played for five different teams in his career.

Charles was released by the Detroit Lions last June before spending training camp with the Chiefs. During camp, Charles split his time between the tight ends and running backs’ rooms.

“I definitely feel ready,” Charles said this week of joining the active roster. “The coaches have been doing a great job of helping me prepare. I meet with (tight ends) Coach [Tom] Melvin early every day, and then I sit in on (running backs) Coach [Eric Bieniemy’s] meetings, so I definitely feel prepared.”

At 6-feet-3 and 247 pounds, Charles knows he doesn’t fit the mold of most NFL tight ends.

The Chiefs other two tight ends—Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris—both measure over 6-feet-5.

“I was playing fullback my second year (in the league) and knew my height might take away from not playing tight end fully,” Charles explained. “So, they said what all can you do? The more you can do, the more versatile and valuable you’ll be. So, that’s when I took it on me when they asked me to (work with the running backs) in camp.”

Charles has worked as an “H” back, or hybrid tight end and fullback, since coming to Kansas City, and said he’s easily motivated by those who don’t believe he can make it as a tight end.

“It definitely draws a fire in me,” Charles said. “But it’s one of those things that I watch some tight ends that are my height and killing it like Charles Clay, Ben Watson, Delanie Walker, so there are guys there that are 6-feet-3 and killing it.”

For any backup player hoping to be one of the 46 active players on game day, the ability to play special teams becomes paramount.

And according to Chiefs’ special teams’ coach Dave Toub, Charles will be a key guy in that area this week.

“He’s going to be a four-phase player for us,” Toub explained of Charles Thursday afternoon. “We plan on using him a lot this week. He’s real strong. He’s got grip strength, like unbelievable. We’ve seen him do a lot of good things on the practice squad.

“I think the whole team is excited about seeing him and how he’s going to do in a regular season game.”

Toub explained how Charles has been standing out during his time this year on the practice squad.

“We give out a blue jersey of the week, it’s like a scout team ‘Player of the Week’ for special teams, and [Charles] got it every week,” Toub added. “He was by far the best guy and gave us the best look and studied tape of the opponent and became that guy in practice, so it’s good to see somebody who worked hard, everybody noticed it, and now he’s being rewarded by being elevated.”

“I’m ready to take on that challenge,” Charles explained of playing special teams. “It’s something that I enjoy doing.”

For a lot of tight ends in today’s NFL game, the blocking aspect becomes secondary to the matchup problems created in the passing game, but for Charles, he welcomes the physicality that comes with the running game.

“For me, I think that blocking is just an attitude, you have to want to, and I enjoy doing it.”

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