Chiefs guard Jordan Devey is musical. To be precise, he plays the tuba.
“It was something I did in high school,” Devey said. “I just stuck with it. My parents said if sports don’t wind up providing a scholarship, music is a good opportunity.”
Music wasn’t simply an outlet for Devey, it was his primary diversion during a time when he could not play football after developing Osgood-Schlatters, a disease that is a common cause of knee pain in growing adolescents. He developed the disease while playing football in junior high school.
That began a long period without sports for Devey. He played no games in high school and he served a Mormon mission before enrolling in college.
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Marching band, concerts and parades ... but no football. Devey’s presence in the NFL, and in the Chiefs’ starting lineup at right guard in last week’s victory over the Jets, is a tribute to his determination and love of the game.
Devey’s knees had healed by the time his mission to Costa Rica had concluded and he had a desire to return to competition. He made some phone calls and Snow College, about 90 minutes from his home in American Fork, Utah, found a spot for the 6-6, 260-pound lineman.
Devey played guard and tackle and improved to the point of attracting Division I offers from Utah State, Cincinnati and Memphis.
Beale Street it was.
“It felt like the right place, of all places,” Devey said.
Devey never missed an offensive snap in 24 games at Memphis, where he played right tackle and guard and left tackle. As a senior, he played for head coach Justin Fuente, now Virginia Tech’s head coach. Barry Odom, now the head coach at Missouri, was Fuente’s defensive coordinator.
“I liked that staff so much I thought about redshirting my senior year,” Devey said. “You could see where they were going to turn the program around.”
Devey began his NFL career with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent, and when that didn’t work out he moved to the Patriots, where he logged four starts in seven games in the their 2014 Super Bowl-winning season.
He was traded to the 49ers for the 2015 season and started nine games.
The Chiefs were set at guard, starting second-year pro Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff and rookie Parker Ehinger throughout the preseason and into their regular-season opener. But neither made it to the second game — both were sidelined by injuries — and Zach Fulton and Jah Reid stepped in. Then Reid was injured and couldn’t go against the Jets.
Devey, who was claimed off waivers in May, was waived by the Chiefs on Sept. 4 but was re-signed two weeks ago for offensive-line depth. He didn’t play in the Chiefs’ loss to the Texans but took every snap against the Jets, who have a solid defensive line.
“I give him a lot of credit (for) coming in and playing in a tough situation,” Chiefs co-offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said. “Just holding down a spot like he did, we’re really happy we were able to have him in there.”
No telling how the Chiefs might line up Sunday against the Steelers. Ehinger, on the inactive list the past two weeks with concussion symptoms, was listed as a limited participant in practice on Friday. Reid remains out.
“There’s been some shuffling around, but we’ve seen the trust and communication that goes on within the offensive line,” Nagy said.
Devey looks to remain a part of that, continuing a pro career that nearly started in Kansas City.
“I talked to them and almost came here out of college,” Devey said. “So when I heard that they claimed me, I was extremely excited.”