Is Kenny Chesney quitting music for a pro football career?
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Is Kenny Chesney quitting music for a pro football career?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 – Is Kenny Chesney putting his singing career on hold for pro football?

The former Gibbs High Eagle wide receiver, all 5 feet 6 inches of him, will work out with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent the day before their pre-season game with the Cincinnati Bengals Aug. 17 to see if he is up to snuff.

Chesney headlines Cincinnati's Riverbend Amphitheatre the day before.

"I first met (Saints Coach) Sean Payton when he was the assistant coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He came out to a show in 2002," said Chesney, who is better known for being a friend of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

"Over the years, we'd become really good friends because there's a very mutual respect for what the other ones does... He's told me he loves how driven and focused I am about what I do; he loves the intensity I have when I'm onstage... and how passionate I am about what he does, too."

Chesney claims he was "probably the slowest receiver in the history of the (Gibbs High) team, and it was a mediocre team."

"I learned how to really work playing high school football, cause you can't play it at any level and not be focused. If you do it halfway, you'll get hurt; you gotta go full-speed all the time...that's just the way it is, and it set me up for life."

Chesney is taking time out during his Flip Flop Summer Tour. He will play Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions Stadium Saturday.

"They wanna see if I can make some kind of contribution," Chesney said. "They realized they were gonna be up there (at the Bengals Paul Brown Stadium) when I was playing Cincinnati, and they wanted to make it work. Turns out a lot of the guys on the team were fans, and Sean said they really wanted to do it."

Chesney will don shorts, a jersey and helmet to go through their work-out, standard practice and being in the huddle with the offensive line to determine if he's got what it takes.

"The day before I get there will be very intense, but I can't be there for that.... This is more about going over game situations, being out there in the huddle with (All-Pro quarterback) Drew Brees and (running back) Reggie Bush...and I imagine it'll be a whole lot faster than when I was in high school."

What happens if Chesney makes the cut?

"If I make the team, well, I'm gonna have to figure out how to get them to let me join 'em in mid-September - after my album comes out."

Chesney's "Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates" drops Sept. 11.

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