Alex Tanney has insisted all along he just wanted a chance to get into a National Football League camp.
“Finally, I have been given that,” the former Lexington High School and Monmouth College quarterback said.
It came Tuesday morning when Tanney, after performing well in a tryout last week, was signed to a three-year free-agent contract by the Kansas City Chiefs. Before the ink was dry, he was on the field for an organized team activity (OTA) workout.
“Right now I’m just trying to digest as much information as possible,” Tanney said. “They have a lot of great coaches on the staff. I’m trying to learn as much as I can and perform well when given the opportunity.”
Tanney was signed as the final player on Kansas City’s 90-man roster. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is the fourth quarterback listed.
He will compete for a regular-season (53-man) roster spot with eight-year veteran Matt Cassell, six-year veteran Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi, a two-year pro out of Iowa. As is standard in the NFL, his contract is predicated on making the 53-man roster.
Among those working with Tanney is quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, a former NFL signal-caller and head coach.
Tanney will complete the OTAs and then stay in Kansas City to work with Zorn. He will have a couple of weeks at home in July before training camp begins late in the month at St. Joseph, Mo.
“The biggest thing right off the bat is trying to get the terminology down and the formations, the cadence, the snap counts, the shifts,” Tanney said. “There’s a lot to learn. But you just put your head in the playbook and start getting it down.”
Tanney is the NCAA’s all-time all-division touchdown passing leader. He was a three-time Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year and the 2009 Melberger Award winner at Monmouth.
Signing with the Chiefs comes after Tanney attended the Buffalo Bills’ mini-camp workouts in May. The Bills signed veteran Vince Young as their third quarterback on the opening day of mini-camp.
“I don’t think I ever thought of this actually (at Lexington),” Tanney said. “It’s always been a far dream. Now I’m just glad to have the opportunity.”