Tautvydas Kieras: First Lithuanian signed to an NFL team - and he's never played American football

The Kansas City Chiefs, an American football team in the NFL, has signed Tautvydas Kieras, a Lithuanian track and field athlete, onto its team as a linebacker. The catch? Kieras has never played a game of professional or college football in his life.
Tautvydas Kieras
Tautvydas Kieras
© Instagram

Kieras, who is 6'3 and weights 271 pounds (1.90m and 123kg), would be the first Lithuanian to sign to an NFL team, and if he makes it from the team's off-season program onto its roster, he will be the first Lithuanian to play in the NFL as well.

There have been players of Lithuanian descent in the NFL before, but Kieras would be the first player from Lithuania.

Kieras left Lithuania for the USA in 2011 as a discuss thrower. He set Mississippi State University's record for the discus throw in 2015, and was a successful shot put competitor as well.

Though he has no professional experience with football, it was his impressive athletic numbers that earned him a shot as a Kansas City Chief. Kieras benched 225lb (102kg) 24 times on the bench press, jumped 35 inches (.9m) vertically, and ran a 40-yard (36.5m) dash in less than 4.7 seconds.

It remains to be seen how Kieras will do, but he has a three year contract with the Chiefs to make his best effort. As someone without a background in American football, many US commentators say his chances aren't good, but they also acknowledge that it isn't impossible, as there are numerous players in the NFL today who successfully made the jump from other sports.

The training videos below are from Kieras' Instagram.

Another day in the office.

A video posted by Tautvydas Kieras (@tk_kieras) on Mar 15, 2016 at 9:05am PDT

4.55 #catchmeifyoucan 😁

A video posted by Tautvydas Kieras (@tk_kieras) on Feb 13, 2016 at 9:15am PST

#progress

A video posted by Tautvydas Kieras (@tk_kieras) on Jan 19, 2016 at 6:13pm PST

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