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Chiefs fans like the Fisher pick

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, April 25, 2013, at 10:43 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, May 5, 2013, at 8:14 a.m.

There may have been an element of mystery to the overall first pick in the NFL Draft — the Chiefs never tipped their hand — but by the time Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher was selected, fans kind of knew.

Mitch Holthus, the Chiefs’ radio play-by-play announcer and master of ceremonies for the team’s draft party, was reporting the Twitter messages and rumors some 30 minutes before the coverage. The day’s lean had been toward Fisher instead of Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, so when the call was made, the 4,000 or so who filled the team’s practice facility cheered the selection they mostly had expected.

“I like it,” said Danny Lobb, 23, of Kansas City. “It’s a strong year for offensive linemen.”

Lobb, whose family has held four season tickets for some 35 years, joined friends Stephen Dobler and Matthew Mavec for food, drink and socializing with current and former players and cheerleaders at the Chiefs’ indoor practice facility.

“It wasn’t a great year to have a bad record,” Mavec said. “But it was a good pick.”

Chiefs fans, starved for success after a 2-14 season that prompted a front-office and coaching-staff housecleaning, were ready to cheer for anybody not associated with last year.

“With the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Eric Fisher,” commissioner Roger Goodell announced.

Fisher got his Chiefs hat, received plenty of compliments from the panel at NFL Network and more applause in Kansas City.

About an hour later, 10 season-ticket holders worked their way to a makeshift studio. They, and not reporters, were the first in Kansas City to speak to Fisher in a Google Plus Hangout.

Google had contacted the Chiefs and Jayne Martin, the team’s director of fan experience, invited season-ticket holders to ask questions.

“We told them they would be one of the first to speak live to our first selection,” Martin said. “We got many great responses.”

The fans, young and old, mostly from Kansas City but also from Wisconsin and Iowa, lined up, and one by one they slipped on headsets, stared into a laptop and after a few minutes of adjustments, found Fisher staring back at them. They read from a card, and Fisher answered every question.

They learned Fisher has never been to Kansas City, likes barbecue ribs and will do everything in his power to make the city proud of him.

Ninth in the order, Connie Joe Gillespie of Kansas City, wanted to know something else.

She loves her Chiefs history and has met all the team’s greats. She has been a season-ticket holder since 2009 but has been going to games since she was 7 and the team moved her from Dallas.

Gillespie wanted to know if Fisher knew about Lamar Hunt and the Chiefs’ half-century in Kansas City.

“Coming from Detroit, there’s a lot of history I have to learn,” Fisher told her. “I’m looking forward to learning about it.”

Gillespie was satisfied and smiled as she removed the headset.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.

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