On July 29th, 80 men will report to training camp in St. Joseph, Missouri with one goal in mind – to wear the Kansas City Chiefs logo on their helmets when The New Arrowhead Stadium hosts its first-ever Monday Night Football Game on September 13th. Chiefs fans are already familiar with the majority of players who will be competing for roster spots this summer, but the crop of undrafted free agents often enter camp anonymous to the fan base.
Starting on June 29th and ending on July 14th, we’ll meet each of the Chiefs undrafted players for conversation. These are members of the Chiefs roster that can’t be ignored. History tells us that several of these men will end up on Kansas City’s Opening Day 53-man squad.
Today’s Rookie Focus – OL
Quick Intro – Pronounced la-MULE jon-PEA-air, the former South Carolina Gamecock played in 36 games and made 21 collegiate starts. He began his career at South Carolina as a defensive lineman before switching to the offensive line prior to his sophomore season. When on the offensive line, Jeanpierre started games at both guard and center.
JL: I heard that in South Carolina everyone just calls you “Lem.” Can Chiefs fans just go ahead and call you that too?
JP: Yeah, that’s what everybody has called me since I was real little. You come into a new place and meet new people, they see your whole name and they just try to shorten it up the best way that they can. Around here a lot of people call me “J.P.,” which is fine. As long as I know what they are calling me, then I know what to respond to. But, yeah, “Lem” is what I usually go by.
JL: So it’s “Lem” in South Carolina and “J.P.” in Kansas City. You started off your college career as a defender, talk a little bit about transferring over the offensive side of the football prior to your sophomore year.
JP: I redshirted my first year, played my redshirt freshman year as a defensive tackle and then, going into that next spring, I moved over to the offensive side of things during the last week of drills. I’ve been playing offensive line ever since then.
JL: Did you play in both sides of the football in high school?
JP: Nope, offensive line was brand new to me. Really, the first time that I even thought about it was a little bit after I got there when Coach Spurrier had a couple of talks with me. After that year we had lost a couple of offensive linemen and were short at the position and he said, “I think you can make a good transition – you’re smart, you’re strong and you can really help the team.” That’s all I had to hear and I was on board with it.
JL: Jeanpierre went on to start five games at right guard that season, despite it being the first time he had ever been on the offensive side of the football.
JL: You ended up starting at both guard and center during your career. How did that work out? Were you a swing guy, or was there an injury situation?
JP: Actually, going into my junior year I was at guard and we had another center who had been there for a while. I ended up getting hurt in the Tennessee game playing against (Eric) Berry and the boys. So, going into that next year it was brand new fight for me. We had a brand new offensive line coach and nothing is given to you. I understood that and I had to fight, fight, and fight.
Going into that junior year I was already the backup center, so that got me used to playing multiple positions. I could play both left and right guard, and then also center. I was in a position where I had to get in there any way that I could if I wanted to play football. So that’s how that ended up coming about.
JL: I’ve seen you at OTAs practicing snaps as well. Are you learning all three positions right now?
JP: I know all positions. The thing about it is trying to know the whole concept of everything, and even the defense with what they’re doing. When you play center it is very good to know what everybody on the offensive line is doing. You’re making calls and you have to be able to react.
So if you know center, a lot of times you are working hand-in-hand with your guards; you might as well know what they do too. And if you’re playing guard, you might as well know what your tackles are doing too.
JL: Talk about your impressions of Kansas City, being a pro and your goals going forward.
JP: I’m a very humble person, so the whole pro thing still hasn’t hit me yet. In my mind I’m just trying to make the team right now and show the coaches what I can do. Kansas City is a great place; I’ve been around this area before since I used to live in Minnesota. My hometown now is Orlando, Florida and then South Carolina, so you find different things in each place.
The people here are really nice and that’s been one of the best things is getting to know the community through our Rookie Club events. Meeting all he people, seeing them smile and being able to help out is a great feeling.
JL: So what are you going to do between July 10th, when you are released from the off-season program, and July 29th, when you have to report back for training camp?
JP: You’re never on vacation. I’ve never really gotten used to that, dating all he way back to high school playing multiple sports. With me, I’m all year round with my training. I’ll go home, but it’s nothing except me relocating my workouts. I’ll be working out and I’ve got plenty of notes I’ll be studying, so when I come back for camp I can make the biggest possible impact to help out the team.