Former Mizzou offensive lineman Yasir Durant fell in love with Columbia and its surrounding areas three years ago.
Now, the undrafted free agent gets to launch his professional football career 120 miles away from Faurot Field while playing for Andy Reid — the coach the Philadelphia native grew up watching.
“I’ve been an Eagles fan since I was younger,” Durant said. “I remember watching the Super Bowl [in 2004]. I watched every Eagles game that I could. I’ve loved the Eagles since I was younger. I loved the coach that Andy Reid was. That appealed me to sign with the Chiefs.”
Durant wasn’t 100% into playing football growing up. His mom wanted otherwise, keeping him away from the wrong path. He left high school as the No. 35 overall player out of Pennsylvania, according to Rivals.com.
The all-state lineman landed a spot at Arizona Western Community College, where he played as a guard. He left for Mizzou as the No. 3 junior college prospect at his position.
The Tigers moved Durant to left tackle, where he remained through his three-year stay. He helped protect now-Broncos quarterback Drew Lock in the first two, followed by Kelly Bryant last season.
Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach suggested Durant could fit at guard in Kansas City.
Durant, on the other hand, says the tackle role is where he feels natural, but will play wherever the Chiefs want him to be.
“I have a lot of versatility,” Durant said. “I’m comfortable in a lot of spots. Right now we’re just working through things and trying to figure out where I fit at.”
Durant said he watched all three days of the NFL Draft alongside members of his family through the final rounds, waiting for his name to be called. He was never selected.
The Chiefs gave him a shot, though, thanks to communication with offensive line coach Andy Heck and special teams assistant Andy Hill — who was the special teams coordinator while Durant was at Mizzou.
Durant's fondness of Reid had the final say, giving him the opportunity to overcome his undrafted status.
“It’ll always be in the back of my head, just knowing that I didn’t get drafted,” Durant said. “But at the end of the day, that’s the past. What matters is now, what I do with it now. Drafted first round, undrafted, it really doesn’t matter. I’m just blessed to be here.”