Kansas City Chiefs’ Mike Catapano says he has ‘fire ignited’ after illness


Last year, many believed Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Mike Catapano was going to break out. With Allen Bailey’s productivity not living up to standards (in 2014, Bailey became dominant), some thought Catapano would become a starter opposite of Mike DeVito.

Instead, Catapano never played a snap after dealing with a virus along with concussion-like symptoms in training camp. Since then, Catapano’s situation has been cleared, and he has been working out, getting ready for the OTAs, which begin at the end of May. Catapano is at full strength, something he is excited about, per quotes provided by the team.

“I believe that you have to use every negative to make it a positive. I didn’t know what was going on and obviously I love this game with all my heart and it’s my passion. At the end of the day, dealing with unfortunate circumstances, I believe you have to use it to make you stronger. Especially at this level where everybody is competing and there’s going to be issues.

“You’re always going to have something that is going to try to tear you down. Standing here where I am today, I really believe that this maybe could have been the best thing that ever could have happened to me with the shape that I’m in. My mentality has never been stronger and I’m just ready to roll like I’ve never been before. I feel like I’ve had a fire ignited inside of me right now.”

Catapano says he weighs 295 pounds, but is much leaner than before. Happy with the way he looks and feels at the weight, Catapano expects to play mostly 5-technique, meaning a 3-4 defensive end. The former Ivy Leaguer, who the Chiefs took in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft, is hoping to play both a little in base and especially in sub-packages as a pass rusher.

The third-year pro also spoke about Mike DeVito’s comments from last month, when the veteran stated his belief in Catapano as a potential Pro Bowl player.

“Mike DeVito has taught me so much and really been like my big brother on this team and really believes in me. The whole D-line is that way. We’re family, we believe in each other more than anybody else, more than the media, maybe even more than the fans as hard as that might be to believe. But we believe in each other and coming from him, there’s no greater compliment.

“I respect him more than any player in the game right now. I hope to make him proud. Of course I believe that I am capable of that. I know I am missing time, but I know that number one, nobody is going to outwork me. Number two, that I have the ability to get on the next level, which is being a special player for this team and in the AFC West and in the league. So he believes it, I believe it, I want to make my team and Kansas City believe it, and show the league, make the league believe it.”

If Mike Catapano becomes a Pro Bowl-level player, God have mercy on opposing offenses. Nevermind…no mercy.