[Kansas City.com] Phones jangled, PR people sighed, and Mexican reporters made plans to fly to Kansas City on Friday, when the Chiefs are expected to sign an unknown offensive lineman who goes by the nickname of “Pencil.” That’s the buzz Ramiro Pruneda has created in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, where his followers hope that someday he’ll become just the second nonkicker from their country to play in an NFL game.
“It’s a big deal here,” said Pruneda, who had a bad case of phone ear late Wednesday and admitted his conversations in English are not so good. “All day I have interviews. I go to the TVs, to the radio station. Right now I have like one hour, two hours, to take a breath.”
In Kansas City, Pruneda probably will be viewed as a long-term project. He’s 6 feet 7 and weighs 320 pounds, and his most extensive experience is playing for ITESM College in Monterrey. They called him Pencil because he was roughly 100 pounds lighter when he started college. Pruneda was supposed to play for Cologne in NFL Europe last year but tore his ACL in the first week of camp and missed the season.
But he caught the eye of former Chiefs lineman Tim Grunhard, an assistant for Cologne last year.
“He’s no world beater,” Grunhard said. “But he probably was the best of the NFL Europe players. He probably had the most upside, really, in the whole thing. Everybody wanted him.”
“He has great feet, good hands, great balance. He’s a pretty tall guy, so he’s a decent player.”