Life is really good right now for Kansas football player and former Omaha Westside all-stater Tim Biere.
Last Saturday, Biere signed a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs after starting most of four seasons at tight end for the Jayhawks.
“I'm going to use a ‘take-your-swing-and-see-what-happens' approach,” he said by phone from Lawrence, Kan. “Playing in the Big 12 was great. You go up against NFL competition every week, so that has prepared me.”
More good news came Sunday at KU's senior honors night, when Biere was named the school's male scholar-athlete of the year.
“It was definitely a surprise,” said the three-time, first-team academic All-Big 12 selection. “It's nice recognition. It shows you did more than just play football.”
Next weekend offers more to celebrate. Biere will graduate in four years with a 3.35 grade-point average in business/marketing.
But before putting the degree to use, the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder will give full attention to his shot at the NFL. Rookie minicamp starts next week.
“They told us to be prepared to stay through June,” he said. “It's a business now, and you have to treat it like that.
“To make the team, you have to impress them enough by playing special teams and doing whatever they ask to help the team.”
Biere grew up dreaming more about becoming a baseball player, but his high school football success changed that. He committed to Kansas coach Mark Mangino before his senior year at Westside.
He also had offers from Kansas State, Iowa State and Ohio in the summer and fall of 2007. But not Nebraska, which during that season spiraled out of control in Bill Callahan's final days.
“Right before Callahan got fired, Nebraska offered me,” Biere said. “But I was pretty set on going to Kansas.”
KU recruited three tight ends in that class, with Biere emerging in fall camp to play immediately for a Jayhawk team that went 8-5 and thrashed Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.
Biere said he enjoyed his two seasons playing for Mangino, who left under pressure after accusations of mistreating players and athletic department staff.
“Coach Mangino was great,” Biere said. “He definitely was tough on you, but you knew he was just trying to make you better. He was really successful.”
For his final two seasons, Biere went from the high-intensity style of Mangino and his high-tempo offense to the laidback ways of Turner Gill and a more pro-style system.
“It was a little difficult at first,” Biere said. “They cleaned house, so you had to get to know a whole new bunch of people.”
In four years, Biere started 29 of 45 games. He caught 66 passes for 798 yards and six touchdowns. One of those TDs was a 25-yarder in overtime last November against Baylor, a game KU lost when it went for two on the conversion and failed.
Biere, a co-captain, was named to Phil Steele's midseason first-team All-Big 12 team, and was on the midseason list for the John Mackey Award, given to college football's top tight end.
He said his main memories of college came from the people he met and the relationships made.
“But if there was one game to remember,” said Biere, showing KU colors, “it would be beating Missouri on a last-second play.”
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