Since 2014, 30-year-old Mike Remmers has started in 78 NFL games at different positions along the offensive line. But his story is rather atypical for a player who has managed to start so many games.
Remmers, a 2012 undrafted free agent, initially signed with the Denver Broncos, then spent the first two years of his NFL career with four different teams, including a divisional rival of the Kansas City Chiefs, the (then) San Diego Chargers in 2013.
The Chargers had signed Remmers from the Buccaneers practice squad in October. Remmers, a backup at the time, played three plays for the Chargers before suffering a high-ankle sprain. Weeks later, Remmers had recovered, setting up for what he would later call a “pretty interesting weekend” in Kansas City.
“I was healthy, and we traveled to Kansas City, and they actually cut me Saturday after the walkthrough,” he explained on a conference call last week. “And they’re just like, ‘OK. We’re not going to fly you home right now, you’re just going to watch the game tomorrow like if you’re on the team,’ and so I just sat there and watched the game (at Arrowhead Stadium).
“The next day, I got claimed by the Minnesota Vikings, so I left the Chargers after that. It was a very interesting weekend for me. Arrowhead Stadium — it was a super loud stadium. A heck of an environment, and I’m excited to be on the field out there.”
The Vikings would sign then waive Remmers three times before eventually cutting him for good in 2014. Remmers signed with the St. Louis Rams practice squad, but the Carolina Panthers signed him in October of that year. After time with five different organizations, Remmers finally found job security in Carolina.
“It just takes a couple years to finally get an opportunity to play,” said Remmers. “Carolina was my opportunity and I just tried to do the most to take advantage of that. Thankfully, it all went well, and I’ve continued to still play.”
Remmers started 37 games over three years in Carolina, including all 17 of the Panthers’ wins in 2015 — Cam Newton’s MVP season. Of course, with the good times came the bad.
Remmers started the team’s Super Bowl 50 loss, when he was matched up against Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, who made several game-altering plays.
Remmers also started every game in 2016 when the Panthers regressed terribly, only winning six games.
“We went to the Super Bowl and then the following year, didn’t have that great of a year,” said Remmers. “It is so hard to win and be successful year after year. I’m sure everyone [in Kansas City] understands that and realizes just because you won the Super Bowl last year, teams aren’t just going to give you the win. You got to win every single week again — just the same exact mentality that they had last year. It was impressive watching [the Chiefs] come back [in 2019[. They were down, and coming back and winning the game. This was a crazy year for them. The difference between winning and losing games, too. Most of the time, it comes down to a field goal, comes down to a coin flip. Just doing whatever you can possible to be on the right side of that coin.
“I’m going to use the experience that I have, the knowledge that I have and try to use that to help everyone around me.”
After Carolina, Remmers signed a five-year contract with the Vikings but was released after two seasons. He then spent a year with the New York Giants before arriving in Kansas City.
48 of Remmers’ starts have been at right tackle, 17 have been at right guard and 13 have been at left tackle. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid likes versatile offensive linemen, and that trait is likely what landed Remmers in Kansas City.
“I’ve been able to play multiple positions, and I think that will help me in the long run,” said Remmers. “It’s always nice to be able to play more than one position, and I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’ll be ready for whatever they ask me to do.”
Eric Fisher and Mitch Schwartz have strongholds on the tackle positions entering 2020, but there could be an opportunity for Remmers at right or left guard. Moving Laurent Duvernay-Tardif would come with nearly $7 million in cap savings for the Chiefs, and the team’s Super Bowl LIV left guard, Stefen Wisniewski, moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason.
If the Chiefs hold on to the doctor, it is reasonable to believe Remmers finds himself in a training camp battle with Andrew Wylie, who will look to reclaim the starting left guard position he lost due to injury last season. The coveted prize is the right to protect the game’s most coveted player: this past year’s Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes.
“You watch his highlights every week and you’re just like, ‘What he heck, he did that this week? And he did that this next week?’” said Remmers. “Every week he’s always doing something more creative. He’s a heck of a player, he moves really well, he slings the ball like crazy. He’s a heck of an athlete.
“I’m just extremely excited to meet him in person, see what he’s like in the locker room and in the huddle, just see how he operates out there. It’s been great watching him and now I’m excited to be playing with him.”
At worst, what the Chiefs have in Remmers is a player with varied experience who could fill the void left by the departure of Cam Erving — a sixth offensive lineman who could play multiple positions. The best-case scenario for Remmers is that he plays well enough to start at guard, and Wylie takes the other role.
No matter how it plays out, Remmers will visit Arrowhead Stadium in the regular season for the first time since 2013. This time, he should be on a roster.