The Chiefs are one of the older franchises in the league and an original member of the AFL. Starting as the Dallas Texans in 1960, the Kansas City Chiefs have seen several all-time great players suit up in red and yellow. From the 60’s squads that featured players like Buck Buchanan, Bobby Bell, and Len Dawson to the early-2000s squads that featured Tony Gonzalez and Dante Hall, plenty of talent has come through.
But what about those unsung heroes? Players that dominated on the field but were left out of the discussion? I am going to give those players their props. Let’s look at just how rich this Chiefs’ history is!
The 2002-2005 Kansas City Chiefs were among the best teams assembled in franchise history. Their greatness stemmed from their amazing offense, one that led the league in scoring for three consecutive seasons. All of this offensive success was generated because of the offensive line they could assemble.
We all remember Willie Roaf and Will Shields, but Brian Waters frequently gets overlooked. Signed as a free agent in 2000, Brian Waters held down the right guard spot for 11 seasons and helped Priest Holmes achieve that record-setting 27 TD season. Not only was Waters a stud in the trenches, but he is the last offensive lineman to have received AFC Player of the Week honors. A week saw the Chiefs set an NFL record for eight rushing TDs in one game.
As good as Waters was on the field, his character off the field shined even brighter. Waters was the 2009 Walter Payton Man of the Year, and he was amazing in the Kansas City community. The RG is a two-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler and deserves more respect.
If there is one thing the Chiefs have done well, it is roster great ball hawks. Marcus Peters, Johnny Robinson, Emmitt Thomas, Albert Lewis, the list goes on and on. However, there is an incredibly underrated one. His name is Deron Cherry.
The former Chief was one of the few bright spots of those teams in the 80s. From 1983 to 1988, Deron Cherry was either an All-Pro, a Pro Bowler, or a combination. All of those accolades stem from his ball-hawking abilities. In five of those six seasons, Cherry secured seven or more interceptions, including a career-high of nine in 1986.
Cherry accumulated 50 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries and held down the free safety position for ten seasons in Kansas City. Cherry currently sits in a tie for 35th all-time in NFL history for interceptions. At his retirement, he was in the top 25 all-time. We have seen players like Johnny Robinson get their nod for the Hall of Fame later in their life, and hopefully, Cherry gets his opportunity.
Derrick Alexander is not a household name for most Kansas City Chiefs fans, but he sure was great for the Chiefs. After Otis Taylor and Chris Burford made their way out of the league, the Chiefs had an incredible lull at the receiver position. From the 80s through the mid-90s, there were not a ton of big-name guys that came through Kansas City. With a brief stint from Andre Rison aside, Derrick Alexander broke that streak for KC.
Alexander joined Kansas City for the 1998 season after playing with the Browns/Ravens from ’94 to ’97. Coming off of back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Alexander was primed to revamp the position for Kansas City. From ’98 to ’00, Alexander accumulated 3,215 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 186 receptions. This includes his best career season in 2000, in which he reached over 1,300 yards and 10 TDs. Alexander would play one final season in KC in 2001, but after battling through injuries, he left KC, where he would play one final season in Minnesota.
Since then, we have seen some great talent come through at WR, Tyreek Hill, Dwayne Bowe, Jeremy Maclin, and that doesn’t even include the two best tight ends to play the game! Alexander was the beginning of this stretch and deserved more respect.
We will bring back to the defensive side of the ball to talk about Donnie Edwards. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Donnie Edwards in 1996 out of UCLA in the fourth round, and he spent eight total seasons with the team. In his first five seasons with the Chiefs, Edwards racked up over 14 sacks, 609 tackles and generated 16 total turnovers.
In the 2002 season, Edwards left for the Chargers, where he would play for the next five seasons. In 2007, Edwards returned to KC to secure another 100 plus tackle season. Donnie Edwards joins elite company in the Chiefs’ all-time LB locker room, but he certainly deserves a spot amongst the top.
Finally, let’s talk about a running back. The Chiefs have a very rich history with this position, so it can be easy to forget certain players who have held down the number one spot on the depth chart. From Marcus Allen to Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs have been very fortunate. But before Allen joined the team, plenty had slipped through the cracks over the years despite playing very well.
The RB I would like to highlight is Joe Delaney. This is one of the more tragic stories in Chiefs and NFL history. Drafted in 1981, Delaney was phenomenal for Kansas City. He rushed for over 1,100 yards in his rookie season, scored three TDs, and caught over 20 passes, securing Rookie of the Year honors. The future was bright for Delaney, but unfortunately, the 1982 season was cut short by a strike.
Sadly, the young star sacrificed himself to rescue three drowning children during the summer of 1983. Delaney himself could not swim, but that did not deter him from jumping in to save the children. The league held memorials for Delaney through a commemorative patch that was worn on each team’s uniform. Not only was Delaney an immaculate talent on the field, but his character off the field was supremely underrated. It is a shame the world lost such a great soul before his time.
Many More To Choose From
Several other players could be mentioned here. The Chiefs have a supremely underrated set of all-time players. When you consider the small market aspect of Kansas City, it seems natural that the Chiefs would have some players that do not get the credit they deserve. Whether you are talking about Will Shields or Derrick Johnson, you have to make sure to mention these guys.
Who do you think is the most underrated player in Chiefs’ history? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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