ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Rookie defensive back Kevin Short last saw game action in 2012.
Three years ago, Short was a first-team NJCAA All-American for Fort Scott, and his 10 career interceptions broke the school record.
He committed to Kansas in 2013 before leaving school in 2014, leading to a period of several months when he wasn’t sure of his football future and ended up working at a warehouse.
“It paid good,” Short said. “It was definitely worth it.”
The 6-2, 185-pound Short may have fallen off the radar for a lot of people, but the Chiefs apparently kept a close eye on him, resulting in Short signing a free-agent deal after going undrafted in the 2015 NFL Supplemental Draft.
Short, a native of Florissant, Mo., now finds himself in Chiefs training camp, where he lined up with the third-team defense on Monday.
Short’s road from junior college to the NFL has been bumpy, especially since he never suited up for a Division I program, even though he was on the roster for one.
Then-coach of the University of Kansas, Charlie Weis, was excited for Short’s arrival in 2013, but things took a turn for the strange and unusual.
Short was declared ineligible by the NCAA for academic reasons, but his offense was non-traditional. At the time, Weis said Short’s transcript was better than most he’d seen and he was expecting academic success from the transfer. Short couldn’t suit up for what would have been his first season at Kansas because he was an overachiever in the classroom.
“Before I got to (Kansas), I took nine to 12 (credit) hours in the summer,” Short said on Monday. “The maximum you can take is six, is what I was told. That’s how I became ineligible.”
For his junior season, Short took a redshirt. He trained along with everyone else, like the typical redshirt.
Spring ball rolled around and everything was looking up for Short. There was no hint that Short wouldn’t be returning to Kansas in the fall.
Short was the first person mentioned when Weis was asked who he was most excited to watch. Even at the 2014 Big 12 Media Days, Weis could not stop raving about Short and his overt athleticism.
One month later, Short released a statement.
“I’m sorry to report that I must withdraw from school for personal reasons,” Short’s statement read. “I want to be clear that I am not leaving due to academics and I am not being dismissed from the team. I am not sure what the future holds, but I am hoping to return to KU.”
Weis had an original timetable saying that Short could make a potential return in January 2015, but nothing materialized.
“I really wanted to play that year,” Short said on Monday. “But it is what it is.”
After leaving campus, Short dealt with what drew him away from Kansas first, and then started working at the warehouse.
Once he received the call from the Chiefs, he immediately went down to Florida to start training at Bommarito’s, a nationally renowned performance training center.
“They’re known to be the No. 1 program in the country,” Short said. “I took a lot out of that.”
Short knows he’s a little rusty, despite training alongside the best of the best. He knows it’s been a while since he last played a down.
“It’s a slow process,” Short said of getting back into the swing of things. “Football is football. I just need to get my feet back under me. I have to get it going sooner than later.”
Amie Just is a contributing writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach her or find her on Twitter: @Amie_Just.