Anthony Muñoz was a Hall of Fame offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals and on Thursday night wore a Bengals polo shirt in his role as television analyst for his former team.
But deep down, Muñoz has a special place in his heart for the Chiefs.
Muñoz became a Chiefs fan as a youngster in Ontario, Calif., and even though he banged heads against Kansas City throughout the 1980s, his love of the franchise never dissipated.
“This is a special place,” Muñoz said before Thursday night’s Chiefs-Bengals preseason game. “I became a Chiefs fan at the age of 10. I played flag football from eight years old until 13. I never played tackle football.
“I played quarterback, and the guys I looked up to were Bill Nelsen and Roman Gabriel and Lenny Dawson. When I was playing out on the street, I was those guys. At age 10, I could name all the Chiefs’ starters … (Willie) Lanier … (Jim) Lynch … (Buck) Buchanan … (Bobby) Bell … (Jim) Marsalis … Emmitt (Thomas) … I punted as a kid, so there was Jerrel Wilson …
“I grew up in the Rams’ backyard, but I wasn’t a huge Rams fan, but for whatever reason, I liked the Chiefs.”
Muñoz, 55, would go to college at Southern California, and as luck would have it, he roomed with Brad Budde, a future first-round pick of the Chiefs who was the son of Chiefs Hall of Fame guard Ed Budde.
“My wife and I come to Brad’s wedding, and I’m sitting in church, and there’s Lenny Dawson,” Muñoz said, adding that he ran into Jan Stenerud and Bobby Bell at last weekend’s Hall of Fame inductions.
Muñnoz strolled down memory lane before the Thursday’s game when he visited the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame at Arrowhead for the first time.
“Look at this,” Muñoz said … “(Jim) Tyrer … (Dave) Hill … (Jack) Rudnay … Budde … (Fred) Arbanas … all their jerseys are here.”