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Ratelle ready for next shot at the NFL

GRAND FORKS, N.D.--Will Ratelle's frequent flier miles have paid off. The former North Dakota football star, who signed a futures contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday, didn't a play a down of regular-season football in 2016, but the ...

Will Ratelle
August 28, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; North Dakota Fighting Sioux linebacker Will Ratelle (51) tackles San Jose State Spartans wide receiver Tyler Ervin (7) during the second quarter at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

GRAND FORKS, N.D.-Will Ratelle's frequent flier miles have paid off.

The former North Dakota football star, who signed a futures contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday, didn't a play a down of regular-season football in 2016, but the Edina, Minn., native has kept plenty busy.

Since parting ways with the Atlanta Falcons after four preseason games, Ratelle has been in Grand Forks since September-except for his tryouts around the NFL. During the preseason, Ratelle suffered an ankle injury.

Since leaving Atlanta, Ratelle has been flown to workouts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and New York Jets.

"It was pretty stressful and frustrating," said Ratelle, who said his ankle is 100 percent healed. "You can't really plan for anything. I would get a call and pack a duffel bag and a backpack, then get sent back right away. It was pretty hard."

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Before Christmas, Ratelle's agent said Kansas City wanted to see him to conduct a physical. Ratelle traveled there right after Christmas and a couple of days later Ratelle and his agent decided to sign with the Chiefs.

"I was both excited and relieved, now that it's finally over," Ratelle said. "I don't have to be stressed out now. It's definitely a good feeling."

The Chiefs, who are the No. 2 seed from the AFC in the 2017 playoffs, have Anthony Sherman as their starting fullback.

"He's a pretty good player right now," Ratelle said. "I just have to show up and be ready to go when I get there."

Ratelle was a linebacker at UND and a captain his senior season in 2015. As a senior, he earned first team all-Big Sky Conference honors and surpassed the 100-tackle mark for the second-straight year, breaking his own UND Division I single-season record with 110 tackles.

Related Topics: UND SPORTSFOOTBALL
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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