Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher is officially the longest-tenured player on the Chiefs. He was head coach Andy Reid’s first draft pick in Kansas City, and the other two current players that have been here since 2013 — tight end Travis Kelce and fullback Anthony Sherman — were acquired after the selection of Fisher.
It has been a long road for Fisher get to where he is. After beginning at right tackle, and going in and out of the starting lineup in his first few years, he has solidified himself as one of the league’s better left tackles. He’s earned a big contract and a Pro Bowl berth in 2018 as proof.
There is one accolade he has yet to earn, and he is motivated to achieve it in 2020.
“With all this time in the offseason, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the growth I’ve had in my career,” Fisher shared with reporters on Wednesday. “Going from the first overall pick, working my way to a pro bowl and winning a Super Bowl. The All-Pro is still out there. Obviously, the number one goal is to get to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl, but for us as individuals, if I can find a way to another Pro Bowl, or to have my first All-Pro year, that would be something special.”
Fisher was likely aiming to take that step forward in 2019, but a Week 2 injury shortened his season and prevented him from putting together another campaign worthy of a Pro Bowl. He returned in Week 11 to anchor the left side of the line through the Super Bowl.
After not missing a start for three seasons, Fisher’s injury put him in an unfamiliar position. Yet, he understands that it’s part of the game.
“You look at my situation last year,” Fisher recalls. “A mid-week injury that needs surgery. I go down for eight games and you plug (former Chiefs offensive lineman) Cam [Erving] in there. That’s just life on the offensive line, we don’t want it to happen but it’s definitely a possibility. What we do in the trenches isn’t easy on the body, and sometimes stuff happens.”
The 2020 campaign has not started on a healthy note for Fisher. In the third padded practice of Chiefs training camp, Fisher was diagnosed with a concussion and had to enter concussion protocol. He has since returned to the field.
“It’s not a normal thing for me,” Fisher noted on getting the concussion. “It was a routine rep, and sometimes you get hit in the right spot at the right time. It happens. You go through the protocol, do what you’re told, make sure you’re honest with your symptoms, I did that, was able to get eased back into it for a few days and I’m back swinging now.”
While he was out of practice, newly-signed offensive lineman Mike Remmers took the snaps at left tackle. The versatile veteran is entering his ninth season in the NFL, and is shaping up to be the team’s swing tackle or backup for any starter along the line.
Along with the addition of veteran offensive guard Kelechi Osemele, Fisher is noticing the impact that these experienced players are having on the team.
“This is the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve had a super-veteran line,” Fisher pointed out. “We have a bunch of eight, nine, ten-year guys. It’s awesome to see the knowledge they’ve gained from other places. (Offensive line) coach [Andy] Heck does a great job of getting us all on the same page... Getting to know these guys has been a fun process.”
One benefit of roster continuity is the ease for new players to assimilate into the system. That could be said for any newcomer, but those players being veterans has made the transition that much smoother.
“We win the Super Bowl and we kind of jump right back into it, fill a few spots,” Fisher began. “The majority of this team have been in the offense for quite a few years. I’m pretty excited about that, these guys coming in are catching on... They have natural chemistry. There’s either chemistry or there’s not chemistry, and that’s one of the nice things about Mike [Remmers] and Kelechi [Osemele], they’re veteran guys who know how to do it, a pro’s pro.”
As Fisher works to fully recover from the concussion, he can rely on the advice that his newest teammates can share. At a position that asks for aggression and brute, the best offensive tackles need intelligence and nuance — and any wisdom from those former starters could be the difference between a good season and an All-Pro season.