KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After getting his weight under control, defensive tackle Kyle Love turned his attention to getting his diabetes in check. Now, he’s ready to focus on playing football again.
The Chiefs signed the former Patriots lineman after a workout this week, and he could be pressed into service as early as Sunday against San Diego. Defensive tackle Mike DeVito did not practice Wednesday because of a sprained knee and might miss the game.
“I’m not sure about roles or anything. I just want to play,” said Love, who was celebrating his birthday on Monday when the Chiefs asked him to visit Kansas City for a workout.
He made a strong enough impression that the Chiefs decided to waive Anthony Toribio, who had been on the roster the last four years.
“I mean, it was a good reaction. It was my birthday, so what better present could I get than that?” Love said. “God works in mysterious ways.”
Love came into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State, but fared so well in New England that he eventually pushed Albert Haynesworth out of a starting job. Love wound up starting 26 games over three seasons, including the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss to the Giants.
But his weight eventually ballooned, and he was soon diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The Patriots decided to let him go, and he was signed by Jacksonville, only to be waived this fall.
Love said he lost about 20 pounds before the diabetes diagnosis, and another five after it. He weighed 312 pounds on Tuesday, his lightest playing weight in years.
“I knew I was eating bad. I just had to cut out all the bad stuff,” Love said. “A lot of people try to blow it out of proportion, that I lost all the weight because of diabetes. I lost the weight on my own, and then I got diagnosed with diabetes.”
The Chiefs only decided to extend Love a contract after he received clearance from team doctors, and coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that he’s in shape enough to play Sunday.
“We know he has the Type 2 diabetes. He has that under control. His weight is good,” Reid said. “He’s in pretty good shape. The doctors said that wasn’t an issue. His weight had been up, and that was an issue at that time, but he has that under control.”
Reid couldn’t say how quickly it will take Love to assimilate to the defense, but he may be forced to play against San Diego out of necessity. If that’s the case, Reid said he’d likely fill the nose tackle position in the middle of the defensive line.
“There’s a chance he could work in, and we’ve got to see how he does in practice, talk to the defensive guys,” Reid said, “but right now I’d tell you he has playing experience.”
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press