Given the Super Bowl victory and the stellar individual performances of both quarterback Patrick Mahomes II and defensive lineman Chris Jones, it’s easy to forget how good a rookie year Kansas City Chiefs first-round pass rusher George Karlaftis III had in 2022.
17 starts, six sacks, eight tackles for a loss (33 total), 11 QB hits, seven passes defended and two fumble recoveries according to Pro Football Reference. For the D-end position, those are some impressive rookie numbers considering the rotational nature of the role.
And the best part is — one could argue that Karlaftis’ best trait isn’t even something he does on the field. All the top athletes in sports work even harder behind the scenes and the Purdue product appears to have that gene programmed into his DNA.
Recently, fans caught notice of the second-year edge rusher practicing some new tricks with Kansas City legend Tamba Hali (via Hali’s Instagram story). Podcaster Noah Gronniger shared the video clip on Twitter.
Tamba Hali Shares More George Karlaftis Content With Chiefs Kingdom
After the initial clip gained some attention, Hali decided to give fans a longer look at his training session with Karlaftis. The former Chiefs pass rusher posted the following reel.
“I saw that a lot of people wanting to see more of what George and I did today so here is a snippet of what our day was like learning Pass Rushing,” Hali voiced with the following pass-rush training hashtags: “#relumae #tambatunes.com @kcchiefs__ @chiefsambassadors @literacykc #juijitsue @georgekarlaftis.”
The video currently has 400 likes and during the reel, Hali referred to Karlaftis as a “very natural pass rusher.” He added later that he originally shared the workout clip because it’s “important that the good news is spread.”
Throughout his incredible 12-year career with the Chiefs, Hali registered 89.5 sacks, 105 tackles for a loss and 159 QB hits. If any of that rubs off on Karlaftis — including his longevity — that’s a massive win for an NFL organization that could use a new steady force on the edge.
Is Chiefs’ George Karlaftis Learning Jiu-Jitsu Techniques From Tamba Hali?
In the videos, it appears Karlaftis is focusing on his hand technique and rip moves. Hali also hashtagged jiu-jitsu and the first rounder responded with the emojis: “🥋🙌.”
USA Today Chiefs Wire reporter Charles Goldman provided some background information on Hali after watching these videos, writing: “Hali studied hand-to-hand combat techniques such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu with now-Patriots coach Master Joe Kim in order to better his pass-rush arsenal. He perfected all of the little things that could help him be at the top of his game, even against opponents who outmatched him athletically. Hali turned the two-hand swipe into a nearly unblockable move during the course of his NFL career in part due to his relentless study and persistence.”
Perhaps, Karlaftis is practicing the same techniques that Hali once learned.
In the modern-day NFL, hand technique has become just as integral for pass rushers as speed and strength. It’s the difference between the athletic freak of nature that never takes the next step at the professional level and the All-Pro EDGE that enjoys a long and fruitful career.
Karlaftis is already a “Greek Freak” — something head coach Andy Reid dubbed him early on. His teammates nicknamed him “Furious George” after that. Now, perhaps they should refer to him as “Professor Karlaftis: Jiu-Jitsu Master of Kansas City.”
Hmm, we’ll have to work on shortening that last one down.