In this November 2018 photo, Manny Patterson of the University of Maine (1) keeps tabs on a Towson University receiver. The cornerback has been signed to the practice squad of the NFL's Washington Football Team. Credit: Courtesy of Ronald Gillis

Former University of Maine cornerback Manny Patterson has earned a one-year contract with the American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs.

The All-Colonial Athletic Association performer impressed the Chiefs last weekend during a three-day, free-agent tryout with the team.

Patterson spent last season on the practice squads of the Washington Football Team and the Houston Texans.

He said he is excited about this opportunity. He will spend the next month with the Chiefs during Organized Training Activities leading up to mandatory minicamp June 15-17.

Training camp begins in July.

“Being with those other two organizations definitely helped me understand how the league works, what to look for and what is expected of you,” Patterson said. “I’m taking everything I learned from those places and bringing it all together.”

As a result of the experience he gained last year, including going up against some top-notch receivers in practice such as former Patriot Brandin Cooks, Patterson said he went into the Chiefs tryout with confidence and it helped him perform well.

“It was a good three days,” he said.

But he knows he has to keep proving himself.

“There are still a lot more obstacles before I consider myself comfortable. I have to prove to the coaching staff that I deserve to stay. The goal is to make the 53-man roster,” Patterson said. “I have to continue to get better and learn from my mistakes.”

He said Kansas City’s atmosphere is different than what he experienced in Washington and Houston.

“Kansas City is more old school. Nobody is walking at all. The other two places were more relaxed. But I like it,” Patterson said. “The coaches definitely get on your [rear end]. They like to keep you focused. So you don’t want to mess up.”

Patterson has discovered that while it is important to have the physical tools required to play in the NFL, it is even more critical to know the playbook inside and out so he can put himself in position to make plays.

Patterson is 19 months out since he last played in a game. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament against Albany in November, 2019, and had surgery.

He said he was able to go full speed last fall and the knee is even better now.

The 22-year-old Patterson led the CAA with 22 pass breakups in 2018 and his 1.6 pass breakups per game ranked third among 124 Football Championship Subdivision teams.

He earned his second All-CAA first-team selection and third overall All-CAA berth in 2019 despite missing three games with the knee injury. He made 27 tackles with five pass breakups.

In 44 career starts at UMaine, Patterson registered 113 total tackles, 54 pass breakups and three interceptions.