Growing up in Kansas City, Oklahoma offensive tackle Donald Stephenson was a Chiefs fan.
Big for his age his entire life, Stephenson didn't dream of playing quarterback at Arrowhead Stadium. He knew his future. It was in the trenches. On the offensive line.
“That was my personality,” Stephenson said. “I've always been known as a humble guy who doesn't really care for the spotlight much.”
During a down era, his favorite Chiefs' season was 2003.
Kansas City finished 13-3. The Chiefs were the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. They lost a 38-31 shootout at home to Peyton Manning and the Colts in a game with zero punts.
It was a season in which Priest Holmes ran for an NFL record 27 touchdowns. Stephenson rattled off all five O-line starters without hesitating. Will Shields. Willie Roaf. Brian Waters. Casey Weigmann. John Tait.
“I love offense and that offense was really good,” Stephenson said. “Those guys up front were legendary in Kansas City. It was ridiculous how good those guys were.”
So you can understand why Donald and his mother, Ethel, were ecstatic when the Chiefs took him in the third round.
“It was huge,” Stephenson said. “I've always been an unconditional Chiefs fan.”
Extremely athletic, the 6-foot-6, 307-pound Stephenson climbed a lot of teams' draft boards after running a 4.91 at the NFL combine, the fastest time of any offensive lineman.
“I've been blessed with certain abilities. I knew I would shine at the combine,” Stephenson said. “I feel I played well my senior year but wasn't getting a lot of attention. The combine was huge for me. I just needed a couple of teams to look at me.”
The one negative in Indianapolis was he bench pressed 225 pounds only 19 times.
“They told me that I never played with a lack of strength so they weren't concerned. That's what I heard from every coach I talked to,” Stephenson said. “They said the biggest thing is I must improve my consistency.”
His NFL journey begins Friday with rookie orientation.
The Chiefs have a veteran offensive line. They signed Houston Texas free agent offensive tackle Eric Winston. But on the other side, Branden Albert, the No. 15 overall pick in 2008, is in the final year of his contract. He might be too expensive to re-sign.