KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A little rain couldn't keep several Kansas City Chiefs players from getting out in the community on Tuesday.
Members of the Chiefs' defensive line unit made a surprise visit to Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Missouri, to practice with the school's flag football team. The effort was part of the team's continued commitment to the Chiefs Kingdom Kids initiative, a new youth-focused program that brings players and various youth together in the community.
"It's an awesome feeling like always," Chiefs defensive lineman and former Grandview standout Xavier Williams said. "I've always loved helping out around whatever community I'm in. But it just brings something a little more special when, you know, you can just relate to the kids on a much more deeper level just growing up in the same area, just knowing kind of what they've been through and everything like that."
The event was originally set to take place at the school's football field. However, heavy afternoon rains forced flag football practice inside the gymnasium.
The change in venue didn't dampen the students' spirits. Their faces lit up when they saw players walk through the gymnasium doors.
Kansas City Public Schools Athletic Director Jim Sanders praised not only the middle school flag football team, but also the continued expansion of athletics for the youngest KCPS students.
"Our goal is to introduce elementary school sports in all of our programs, and that's what we're heading for," Sanders said. "We've introduced middle school sports about five years ago. And, out of that, we've had runner-ups in soccer, basketball, some state champions. Lincoln this year had a fifth-place finisher in wrestling. It was a freshman. So, our middle schoolers, you don't hear about them as much in the press or in the newspapers. But they're doing some tremendous things."
While at the school, Chiefs players taught the middle school football players new techniques and gave them tips on how to succeed on the field.
"Honestly, (participating) was fun for me because, I remember going through it with my old college coach," Chiefs defensive lineman Derrick Nnadi said. "(My coach always gave critiques) about our defensive line stance. And I carry that with my every day. And I feel like if I can bring that to (the kids') attention, (it) can almost be like (passing) the torch, so to speak."
The event also served as a part of the Chiefs Community Caring Team visits, which focus on community outreach.