KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The stories of Chiefs rookie center Mitch Morse’s pregame routine while in college are no secret.
Morse would throw up before kickoff, as Missouri coach Gary Pinkel on Monday afternoon reminded the school’s beat writers.
“Pinkel said Morse ‘gets really, really nervous before games. Usually he was hurling into the trash can,’” David Morrison of The Columbia Daily Tribune tweeted.
There were more tweets, of course.
“Pinkel congratulates Chiefs rookie center Mitch Morse on his first start, reminds us he puked before every game at Mizzou,” Dave Matter of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted.
Matter’s tweet prompted Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel, a Missouri alumnus, to reply directly to Matter, “(Morse) puked at Thursday practice too! Didn’t know it was his thing…”
The tweets spread across the social media platform, and Morse chuckled when asked Tuesday about his college ritual.
“Probably nerves a little bit,” Morse said. “At one point I think it was almost a habit, like I have to do this for this to be all right.”
Morse said he didn’t stick a finger down his throat or anything of that nature to start the process of regurgitating the contents of his stomach.
But the routine had the attention of teammates and served as motivation.
“It hyped everyone up,” Morse said. “It was so weird, like I’d start throwing up and everyone was like, ‘All right, we’re ready to play. Morse is throwing up.’ It really became a thing.”
And the stories of his pregame custom weren’t confined to the locker room.
Morse said it became well-known around the Missouri campus and it was common for complete strangers to bring up the subject.
“You’d see people in public and they’re like, ‘Hey, man. How was ralphing?’” he said. “It kind of became a thing. People knew. It was a big deal.”
As to the origin, Morse said the ritual began in his sophomore season and Pinkel observed it.
“I remember one time we were at South Carolina in 2012 and he’s going up in front of each person, ‘Let’s have a good game, all right?’” Morse said. “He comes up to me and I’m ralphing hard in this trash can. He looks at me and says, ‘Have fun out there today, Morse,’ and just walks off.
“That was my first time I’ve really done it, so he had no idea that’s what I did and at that time he just saw me ralphing. I’m like, ‘OK, Coach Pinkel gets it. It’s cool.’ At the time, I was like he doesn’t care about me, but he knew it was just nerves. Coach Pinkel has been so great with me and he’s been a great mentor. He helped me more than I even know in football.”
With his college playing days behind him, Morse said he didn’t throw up before taking the field as the Chiefs’ starting center in Week 1 against the Houston Texans.
That doesn’t mean, however, the contents of his stomach won’t eventually appear before a game as the season progresses.
“It hasn’t carried over in Kansas City,” Morse said with a grin. “It did happen in practice. I just did what I had to do. It was definitely out there and everybody saw it. It hasn’t happened in Kansas City yet.”