Meet the Chiefs’ newest safety, who once ran a 4.34-second time in the 40

Chiefs cornerback Eric Murray (No. 21), safety Daniel Sorensen (49) and safety Steven Terrell (30) warm up during practice on Wednesday.
Chiefs cornerback Eric Murray (No. 21), safety Daniel Sorensen (49) and safety Steven Terrell (30) warm up during practice on Wednesday.

A grin still spreads across Steven Terrell’s face when he hears the number:


That’s how fast Terrell, 26, ran the 40-yard dash at Texas A&M’s pro day in 2013. That’s an absurd time for a safety, and it’s indicative of the range that caught the Chiefs’ attention this summer, even if he’s not sold he could still match that time tick for tick.

“It was a while ago,” Terrell said with a laugh. “I can still get up there, though.”

Clearly. Terrell, a fifth-year pro, was signed by the Chiefs in July following his release by Seattle, and he earned an extended look from the Chiefs throughout the preseason, when the led the team in tackles.

He did not make the team at the 53-man roster deadline, but he was also told he’d be back if anyone got hurt at the position.

“I felt like it was one of my best preseasons,” Terrell said. “But this is my fifth preseason –– I know how it goes with the numbers (game) and all that. They had four great players in front of me, so it wasn’t like, a disappointment for me. I did what I could control and tried to put my best out there.”

It didn’t take long for the call to come. Not long after star Eric Berry suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the team’s Week 1 win over New England, the Chiefs dialed him up. Terrell was back in his hometown of Allen, Texas, at the time.

“Glad to be back,” Terrell said. “I hate the circumstances, but it’s good to be back.”

Terrell was a logical replacement to take Berry’s spot on the roster, since he spent the entire preseason with the club and is already familiar with their scheme.

“Yeah, we thought he had a good feel when he was here,” Reid said. “He gives you some special teams, he is good back on the back end (of the secondary) there. He is a smart kid ... he seemed to be a good communicator back there, which is what you need.”

Terrell, a fifth-year pro, learned a lot about playing the position for Seattle last season, when he finished with 26 tackles and a pass deflection and filled in for Pro Bowl Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who was lost for the season with an injury.

Most of what he learned, Terrell said, came down to the realization of the preparation necessary to be an effective NFL starter.

“It’s a tough job — tough job,” Terrell said. “But experience was the biggest thing. Practice can only do so much, and being able to start some playoff games, it’s an experience you always have and are able to lean on and learn from, for the most part.”

Terrell has some bonafide strengths as a player. His speed and range top the list.

“Speed, playing in the middle of the field, I feel I’m pretty good at it,” Terrell said.

However, he’s still working on his man coverage of tight ends –– something the Chiefs do often, but that he rarely did in Seattle –– and his work in the box, particularly as it relates to his run discipline. He spent most of his time as a deep safety in Seattle.

A Chiefs once again, he’ll have a little time to refine those skills. And while the Chiefs have three other safeties ahead of him on the depth chart –– Ron Parker, Daniel Sorensen and Eric Murray –– he couldn’t be more thrilled to be in Kansas City.

“It didn’t work out (here) initially,” Terrell said. “But at the end, I made it back.”