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New Chiefs DE Carlos Dunlap explains role pizza played in signing

Dunlap said late-night meeting with coaches, chance at playoffs tipped scales
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Posted at 2:21 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 15:26:04-04

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — A late-night snack helped convince Carlos Dunlap that the Kansas City Chiefs were the best place for him to sign for the upcoming NFL season.

Dunlap landed in Kansas City for a visit on July 27 around 10:30 p.m. and made his way to Missouri Western about an hour later.

It was during that visit that he “spent time one-on-one with Coach (Andy) Reid eating pizza” as the Chiefs rolled out the training-camp equivalent of the red carpet.

“I know they have early mornings, so that was pretty dope for them to take the time to answer my questions and take the initiative to get me here,” Dunlap said Thursday after suiting up for Kansas City for the first time at practice.

Dunlap also met with Steve Spagnulo and Joe Cullen, the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, going over game film and how he’d work into the scheme during the visit.

“Basically, they showed me where I would be, the defense they run, how they call it, his rhythm and I liked where I fit, so that morning I signed,” Dunlap said. “Clearly, that night was worth it to them and worth it to me.”

Dunlap added that he chose Kansas City over Carolina and other suitors, because it was “a great opportunity with a great organization.”

He wanted to become part of the team’s run of recent success, including four straight appearances in the AFC Championship Game.

He called signing with Kansas City “an educated decision” based on the opportunity to play and the chance to win.

“I’ve done a lot of football ... but I haven’t won a playoff game and haven’t clearly won a Super Bowl,” Dunlap said. “Those are things that I would like to do at this point in my career. And I feel like this team gives me a great opportunity, the best opportunity to do it.”

Dunlap entered the NFL as a second-round pick from the University of Florida in 2010. He racked up 82 1/2 sacks during 10 1/2 seasons in Cincinnati. He added 13 1/2 sacks with Seattle after being traded midway through the 2020 campaign.

“He knows how to get to the quarterback and sometimes that’s just innate,” Spagnuolo said. “I always say 70% of pass rush is want-to.”

Overall, Dunlap has racked up 96 career sacks, including at least six in every season except one, during 12 NFL seasons.

“I try to average eight (sacks) a year and I want to go for more than that obviously,” Dunlap said. “I put my money where my mouth is with the deal we did and structured it that way for incentives to increase it.”

Spagnuolo was happy to add another veteran piece to the defensive-line rotation.

“The first thing that sticks out is the length,” Spagnuolo said. “I remember the couple years we had TK (Tanoh Kpassagnon). I always thought that was nice to have inside or outside, because that’s tough for quarterbacks. So, that’s the first thing.”

Dunlap, who stretched but didn’t take any reps at Thursday’s practice, may play multiple places along the line, but Spagnuolo said for now the Chiefs are “figuring out what he can do and where to put him.”

A defensive end by trade, Dunlap may play inside as well at some point, but “I want to get him comfortable at one spot first,” Spagnuolo said.

Dunlap arrived at Chiefs camp Wednesday and said the late nights haven’t ended quite yet.

He was “until about midnight last night (Wednesday), trying to catch up on the install.”

Dunlap planned to meet with Cullen after Thursday’s practice to flatten the learning curve even more but insists that he still has some pass-rushing juice.