The preseason schedule couldn’t have worked out better for Kansas City Chiefs safety Otha Foster III.
The 2006 Varnado High graduate, who signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent this offseason, is set to compete in his first NFL game close to home tonight when the Chiefs battle the New Orleans Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
“I can’t explain how good of a feeling it is being able to play my first NFL game, even though it’s preseason, back at home in front of family and friends,” Foster said.
Foster, who has never played in the Superdome, said he was excited when the schedule came out because it gives his family a chance to see him play in his first game.
“It was just exciting to know a lot of my family would be able to see it,” Foster said. “Not many people from Varnado have been to the NFL. To play my first game in New Orleans, so my whole family and friends can see it, is exciting.”
Foster (6-foot, 204 pounds), who wears No. 42, said about 20 family and friends will be in the Dome tonight.
When asked if he is nervous, Foster said he is trying to treat it like any other game. But he admitted he is excited.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous because any time you go into something new, you’re going to be nervous,” Foster said. “But once I get out there and I get that first contact, the nervousness will leave.”
Foster, who attended the University of West Alabama, talked about the biggest adjustment he’s had to make from college to the NFL.
“Besides the mental part of trying to learn the playbook, the fact it’s more of a business than it is in college,” is a big adjustment, Foster said. “It’s a grind, and it’s a job. College felt like a job, but this is a job. The speed is faster than it was in college.”
Foster said he listens to all of the veteran players in the secondary, like Kendrick Lewis and two-time pro bowler Eric Berry.
“I try to listen to them for advice and try to watch their habits on the field,” Foster said.
Kansas City’s coach is Andy Reid, who is in his first year with the Chiefs. Reid spent the last 14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and had a 130-93-1 record in the regular season.
“Andy Reid’s a great guy,” Foster said. “He’s a players’ coach. He’s a funny guy also, which was something I didn’t know.”
Foster’s high school coach, Paul Meyerchick, who coached football at Varnado from 2003-11, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in 1984 before punting for the Houston Oilers the next season.
Meyerchick is unable to make tonight’s game but said he’ll be watching.
“I’ve been there and done that, and it’s in an unbelievable feeling,” Meyerchick said. “He’s played in front of crowds, but nothing like he’ll face at the Dome. That Dome will be rocking, and it’ll be an experience he’ll never forget. It’s preseason, but in New Orleans it’s the first preseason game, so everybody will want to get there.”