Standing in front of his locker at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Jordan Lucas got choked up.
It’s not that he had just finished the best game of his career, grabbing his first career interception during his first defensive snaps with the Chiefs, it was who was in the crowd watching it happen.
Sitting beside his fiancée, Taylor, and his sister-in-law was Lucas’ mom, Denise Oakley, who got to see her son play in person for the first time in his three-year NFL career.
“I’m just happy,” Lucas said, his voice a little breathy as he held back tears. “I’m very happy and I’m glad to be on this team. I thank everybody for this opportunity.”
Sunday in New England, Lucas could have an even bigger opportunity. With the Chiefs’ top four safeties sidelined at practice all week — two on IR and two on the mend — Lucas figures to start alongside Ron Parker. It would be his first career NFL start. But even so, nothing could likely top last weekend for Lucas.
A week ago, all three women watched on as Lucas picked off Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles near the goal line and ran the ball back 49 yards. As his teammates jumped up and spilled over the sideline, Lucas cradled and kissed the ball in a display honoring his unborn son, who’s due on Feb. 3 — coincidentally the same day as the Super Bowl.
Afterward, Lucas gave his mom the interception ball.
“She was extremely proud,” Lucas said. “That’s something I dreamed of as a kid. For my mom to be able to come out and see that, I mean, I can’t even put it into words.”
But why did she make the trip from New York now? Why that weekend?
Lucas played coy when he was asked about it Sunday.
“Ah man, got a big day coming up,” he said with a grin.
Thursday afternoon, the answer was right there on his left ring finger.
Oakley wasn’t just in town to watch Lucas play. She was also there to witness him get married.
A day after his career game, Lucas and Taylor were married in a 45-minute ceremony performed by Chiefs’ chaplain Marcellus Casey at Casey’s church.
“It was a good weekend all together,” Lucas said Thursday afternoon.
The wedding had already been postponed a couple times: once by training camp and then by his sudden trade to Kansas City from Miami.
Oct. 8 was the first day everyone’s schedules lined up, so the couple decided to have a small family-only ceremony in Kansas City.
“It was perfect for us,” Lucas said. “We had the whole day to ourselves. Then Tuesday, we got to come in here, watch the game film, get another lift in and after that, I had the rest of the day with my wife, too.”
Once their son turns a year old, Lucas added, they’ll have a bigger celebration.
By then, maybe, Lucas’s life will have settled down a bit.
The last couple of months have been chaotic for the 25-year-old Penn State product. After finding out he was going to be a father in April, Lucas was traded from the Dolphins to the Chiefs in the final days of the preseason.
After carving out a niche as a special-teams player with the Dolphins, he had to start from scratch in Kansas City.
Starting over is nothing new to Lucas. Growing up in New York, Lucas changed football teams at least two or three times when he moved from White Plains to New Rochelle.
“I was the man on one team and he would move me to another city,” Lucas said. “I had to start all over again. Things like that. That’s something I’ve kept with me throughout my whole life. That’s something I’m going to teach my son. So I’m very prideful and I’m just blessed and grateful for the opportunity.”
So far, those lessons have helped him in Kansas City.
Though it’ll be tough for another weekend to stack up to the one he just had, at least on a personal level, Lucas figures to have more opportunities to have an impact on the field in the near future.
“I think he’ll be fine,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “He did an outstanding job in the game the other day. Just went in there and go. There’s no other alternative or approach that really helps you do anything besides just, hey, you believe in that guy and the other guys believe in him.”