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Playing for the competition: Kilgore signs with the Raiders

Considered one of the most bitter rivalries in the NFL’s history, the Oakland Raiders’ and the Kansas City Chiefs’ games against each other are among the most viewed sporting events in this area every time they come on television.  Now, residents of Excelsior Springs have just one more reason to tune into the Red vs. Silver games.

Chad Kilgore, a 2009 graduate of Excelsior Springs High School, has signed to play with Oakland for the 2012-13 season.  During his high school career, Kilgore was first-team all-state linebacker, first-team all-district and all-conference linebacker and running back and team captain for the Tigers.  He also earned all-state, all-district and all-conference honors as a linebacker in 2006.

Kilgore, following his graduation from ESHS, attended Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, where he played as linebacker for the Bearcats.

Ranked fourth all-time at Northwest, Kilgore earned 392 tackles and posted 2.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss as a senior.  The former Bearcat also led his team in tackles the last two seasons.

Last Friday, July 27, Kilgore was notified of his tryout with Oakland, but it was Sunday, July 29, when he signed with the California-based NFL team. According to a press release from the Raiders, Kilgore joins another former Bearcat, Dave Tollefson, who also signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent.

With hopes of making the most of Oakland’s training camp, Kilgore announced to the media that he is thankful for the opportunity.  “I’m only going to get a few opportunities so I’m going to give it everything I got whenever I’m out there,” he said.  “You can’t take it for granted just being here.”

This weekend the Raiders reported to training camp, which is held in Napa, Calif.  Oakland has 89 players on their roster at this time, one player short of the NFL’s limit for the pre-season.

Kilgore is one of 10 linebackers listed on Oakland’s training camp roster. Five of those are rookies and three of the other four are from Division I schools.

The smallest of the linebackers listed, ESHS alumnus Kilgore is 6’1” and 230 pounds.  He is also tied as one of the two youngest linebackers on the list at age 22.

For Chiefs fans waiting to get a glimpse of the just-turned-Oakland player (that is, if he sees play time in the big leagues), the Chiefs take on the Raiders on their home turf Sunday, Oct. 28.  Then the Chiefs travel to Oakland to play on Sunday, Dec. 16.

By Jae Juarez • jae@leaderpress.com

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