LANSING | Kendall Kremer remembers one of the things that motivated him while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.
It was a sign that was put up by Gary native and former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Hank Stram.
"It said, 'You will only be tolerated as long as it takes us to find someone to replace you.' that hung in the locker room," Kremer said. "That was good enough for me."
Kremer, a Lansing native and 1975 T.F. South grad, played six years as a defensive lineman for Marv Levy. He had success off the field as well.
While a player, he opened up a sports bar "Fuzzy's" which was his nickname in Kansas City because of his beard. He went on to a 25-year career as a Kansas City, Mo.-based sports agent. He was in business with former teammate Tom Condon when he joined Condon's firm, Tom Condon & Associates in 1987. The two joined IMG three years later and Kremer said they co-represented 36 first-round picks from 1997-2006.
"I think we had more (first-round picks) than any other agency in that time," Kremer said. "We did quite well."
He said he enjoyed his careers as an NFL player, sports bar owner and agent.
"Tom was president of the NFLPA (NFL Players Association, from 1984-86) and he had a lot of contacts obviously," Kremer said. "He approached me and I had just sold my two bars and saw this (being an agent) as a great opportunity. I really enjoyed it and we were very successful."
In 2007, the two joined Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Kremer stayed on until 2012 and is now is a financial representative for New York Life.
"I like the (career) move," Kremer said. "It is a lot less pressure and you are helping people with their (financial) plans."
Kramer was the first from his family to go to T.F. South. He had four brothers and a sister who went to Bishop Noll. He was recently in town for a reunion of the 1974 T.F. South football team which went to the state playoffs in the inaugural year for postseason play. The Rebels beat Ridgewood 17-7, then lost to eventual Class 4A state champion Rockford East. The E-Rabs blanked the Rebels 28-0.
"We had a great coaching staff — head coach Joe DeSoto — great assistants in guys like Ollie Crowmell, Jim Long," Kremer said. "They were great mentors and they made us into more than football players."
Kremer said he loved his four years at Ball State where he started the fourth game of the year as a freshman and started all games after that. He was the most valuable defensive player of the Mid-American Conference in 1978 playing for the Dave McClain.
"We had a great team and great coaching," Kremer said. "We were 10-1, won the MAC.'
Draft day was not a big production then. ESPN did not exist. Kremer said he was in his apartment in Muncie, Ind. when he got a call from Levy telling him he had been drafted in the seventh round.
"I was speechless," Kremer said. "The NFL. Something you dreamed about as a kid. Now, I had to make the team."
He said the Chiefs flew him to William Jewell College for training camp, which was much different than it is now.
"There were no preseason roster limits, so we had like 150 guys in camp and we had 15 defensive linemen," Kremer said. "I knew I just had to bust my tail."
He said he received a $4,000 signing bonus. His first contract was for $30,000 with no guarantees.
"Like I said, that (Hank Stram) sign wad pretty good motivation," Kremer said. "I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play in the NFL."