KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Offensive tackle Eric Fisher received a glimpse of how his life would now be different when he boarded his flight Friday morning from New York to Kansas City.
He was stopped by the pilot as he walked by the cockpit, congratulated on being the first overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft and asked to pose for a photo. He was congratulated by several Chiefs fans also on the flight.
For 22 years, Fisher could operate in relative anonymity outside of Mount Pleasant, Mich., home to Central Michigan University. Not anymore, and probably never again.
“I come from Central Michigan, which is in the middle of some cornfields,’’ Fisher said Friday morning after arriving in Kansas City and at the Chiefs practice facility. “Not many people knew about me but I think walking across that stage last night, a few people know me now.
“It’s a lot to take in. It’s a lot to adapt to. It’s a new life.’’
Fisher and the other Chiefs draft picks will practice for the first time in a three-day rookie camp that begins on May 10. They will remain in Kansas City for the start off full-squad offseason practice the following week.
Until then, Fisher can catch up on his sleep — he said he got perhaps a couple hours Thursday night — but also get back into the workout regimen that he has had to ignore at times as the draft neared.
“It’s time to work,’’ he said. “Through this process, you get off a routine. You need to keep your priorities straight and do what you have to do to be the best player you can be. I’m looking forward to getting back in a routine, eating right, working out right, sleeping right. The last four months it’s been hard to do that with all these events. It’s going to be nice to get back to it.’’
The Chiefs opted to draft Fisher over Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, another highly rated offensive tackle prospect. Joeckel was drafted by Jacksonville with the second overall pick and in an interesting twist, the Chiefs play against the Jaguars in the Sept. 8 season-opener in Jacksonville.
A rivalry of sorts developed during the draft process as the two players competed to be the No. 1 pick.
“I’m ready to go prove Kansas City wrong,” Joeckel told reporters in Jacksonville on Friday.
Fisher said he was equally determined to prove the Chiefs made the right choice.
“Obviously with the first pick there is a lot of expectations you have to (live) up to, and I’m the kind of guy that takes that on,’’ he said. “Very seriously, I’m going to do everything in my power to be the best player and show everybody why I was the first pick. I will back that up the best I can. Luke has been great competitor throughout this whole process, so has Lane (Johnson, another tackle, drafted fourth by the Eagles). It was a great experience because it always kept me hungry. It was a big competition between the three of us, and obviously three of us went four picks last night. So it probably came down to hairs.
“But the fact they went with me, what an honor.”