KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If Davy Crockett were still alive today — and also happened to be 6-foot-7 with a pair of steam shovels for arms — he might be Eric Fisher. The No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft grew up in the woods, drove a beat-up old Ford pickup truck, fought off raccoons, sold firewood, once got a chainsaw as a gift from his Mom, and was raised in a log cabin.
Well, OK, so maybe we’re stretching it on the ‘log cabin’ part.
“It wasn’t really a log cabin,” Eric Fisher, the newest Kansas City Chief, said this afternoon after being introduced to the local press corps.
“It was an old house, I guess. It used to be a hunting lodge. It was built in 1940. It needs work every now and then. But we live on five acres and, you know, I was always the one doing the work.”
But the raccoon issues? Oh, yeah. Absolutely true.
“There are all kinds of animals running around,” Fisher replied with a grin.
Yes, the Chiefs’ first No. 1 pick overall is a self-avowed country boy in every sense of the term, a walking, hulking George Jones lyric. He was raised by a single mom in suburban Rochester, Mich., surrounded by wide-open spaces some 30 miles north of downtown Detroit.
“I don’t come from the sticks,” Fisher chuckled. “But, you know, we’ve got a little bit of property. I enjoy that. I couldn’t live in a subdivision.”
When he was of age and wanted his own ride, Fisher had to save up the money to buy a car for himself. So he did odd labor jobs anywhere he could, including a regular maintenance work — lawn care, painting, you name it — for an elderly couple down the road that happened to own a 20-acre property.
Fisher eventually landed a 2002 Ford F-150, used, and ran that baby ragged.
“I just sold it a couple months ago,” the former Central Michigan star allowed. “But it was close to 200,000 miles. Yeah, I bought it when I was 16.”
At his core, Fisher is a substance type, crashing a style party. As a boy, Heidi Langegger imparted her son with three core principles:
1. You want anything bad enough, you’re going to have to work for it. 2. Nothing’s going to come free, and nothing’s going to come easy. 3. Saw enough wood, you can make your dreams a reality.
“I think two years ago, I bought him a chainsaw, and myself a smaller chainsaw,” Fisher’s mom recalled. “That’s what we do.”
You saw the wood. You get your hands dirty. You own it.
“And I think that’s important,” Langegger, who’s slated to retire in June from a desk job with Volkswagen’s warranty department after 33 years of service. “Especially nowadays, a lot of your young people feel that it’s just a given — and they don’t realize all the privileges they are just being given. And I don’t think that’s in their best interest.”
It was exactly that mindset that, ironically enough, is going to make her kid very rich, very soon. When Big Ten schools passed on him as a skinny teen, Fisher carried the scar tissue with him and took it out on the rest of the Mid-American Conference. It proved to be the kind of healthy, salty abrasiveness that immediately appealed to Chiefs coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey, who are trying to shake up the culture in a moribund Chiefs’ locker room, piece by piece.
“That chip ain’t going anywhere,” Fisher said, referring to the one on his shoulder. “I think that’s a big reason why I am where I am. I’ll be playing with a chip as a Chief.”
Sawing wood. After all, it’s what they do.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org