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George Karlaftis explains what he has learned about being a professional

The Chiefs rookie defensive end combines responsibilities in interesting ways.

Green Bay Packers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Two weeks after being (jokingly) called out by his quarterback for his tame sack celebration, Kansas City Chiefs defensive end George Karlaftis remains unconcerned.

“I don’t think that’s super important for me,” Karlaftis said in remarks to reporters before Monday’s practice. “Just getting the sack, everything else is trivial.”

The 30th overall selection in April’s draft was focused on professionalism throughout his remarks, having realized how much more difficult time management is as a professional than as a college player.

“In college, you live two minutes from the facility,” he recalled. “Here, you’ve got a little bit of a drive sometimes. Hours are a little different. I kind of tried to have a similar routine as I did in college and just mold it to what I needed to here in Kansas City. It’s been going well; I think I’ve found a routine for the most part.”

Part of that routine includes combining job responsibilities in what may seem to be unconventional means.

“We’re here from a certain time to a certain time,” Karlaftis explained. “It’s really about multitasking. If you’re getting two things done at once — whether I’m getting a massage or something [and] trying to watch film. [Or] if I’m the sauna or a cold tub — that kind of stuff.”

He realizes the importance of the time he is in the building — and is determined to make the most of every minute.

“I like to watch film a lot — or get on the phone with coach while I’m in the sauna,” Karlaftis claimed. “Getting my recovery and getting multiple things done at once I think that’s been huge. Because there’s a certain amount of the day where I’m not here. So definitely just trying to maximize everything and be as efficient as possible with my time so I can become the best player I possibly can be. That’s what it’s all about for me.”

Karlaftis readily admits he does not currently see himself as the best player he possibly can be, despite a successful camp by most reports and multiple splash plays in the preseason.

“I think I have a lot of things to improve, definitely,” he admitted. “Definitely showed a couple of good things as well on tape, but definitely a whole lot I need to improve on.”

In spite of his hard-on-himself approach, most of his stated areas for improvement were more about refinement than lack of understanding.

“Just intricacies in the game,” Karlaftis identified. “On certain pass rush reps, doing this differently as opposed to that. You always want to win and you always want to get an edge. Striving for perfection in everything you do.”

Kansas City Chiefs v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

He also expressed comfort with Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s playbook.

“I think every day that goes on,” Karlaftis observed, “I feel more and more comfortable. Learning the playbook now is pretty much know the playbook and all that stuff. Now it’s more fine-tuning the technique and becoming a better football player.”

The former Purdue Boilermaker also credited fellow Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark for helping him through his first camp.

“Frank’s been great — he’s taken me under his wing,” Karlaftis boasted. “His body of work speaks for itself. He’s been great for the room, a great leader. He’s been great for me just teaching me everything the guys when he was a rookie taught him in Seattle. He’s been awesome.”

With his first career regular season game looming, Karlaftis denied any extra nervousness. He expects his thorough approach thus far in his Chiefs career to serve him well on September 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.

“For me, everything counts,” he explained. “Practice, walkthroughs, and all that stuff. I try to take that as seriously as possible so then it’s like, get to game day and you’re all over the place. Definitely just try to take everything as seriously as possible so no moment seems too big.”

Kalafatis has already won over many Chiefs fans with the relentless play they saw from him in the three preseason games. For many, however, the biggest question remains what his nickname should be. The Greek EDGE rusher appeared no more interested in nicknames than sack celebrations — but he did endorse one contender.

“I like Furious George,” he replied. “That’s not bad.”

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