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Chiefs GM Scott Pioli On Learning Disabilities In The NFL

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Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli was quoted recently by Dan Pompei of National Football Post in a story about football players who have learning disabilities.

"The kids generally will tell you if they have a learning disability," Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli says. "That's generally a good sign, because if they acknowledge it, it shows a willingness to deal with it. Then we can all work towards the same goal and enhance the chances for long term success. You have an open mind about it and put a structure in place."

The story notes that Chiefs sixth round pick DT Jerrell Powe reportedly has ADD and dyslexia. Pioli, who is meticulous with his pre-draft research, felt comfortable selecting Powe despite his reported learning disabilities. As he notes in the quote above, the main issue is identifying the problem and then putting a structure in place to deal with it.

Though it's probably not the best comparison, this reminds me of the 1993 movie The Program.

Alvin Mack, a star linebacker on Florida State a fictional football team, was portrayed as having a lot of difficulty performing even minor academic tasks. Basically, he wasn't a very good student. But there was one scene in the film room where there was no sign of his learning issues. The defensive coordinator was showing slides of different defensive alignments in a meeting and, without hesitation, Mack spouted out exactly what the defense was supposed to be doing on each and every play. He identified the role of the defense with ease and precision and in direct contrast to his difficulties in the class room.

Again, not the best comparison but it's a good way to demonstrate that just because you have a learning disability doesn't mean you can't be a productive football player.

(H/T Steve_Chiefs)