Donald Stephenson, the Chiefs’ third-round pick from Oklahoma, is making huge strides in his first NFL training camp for his hometown team.
Stephenson, a graduate of Blue Springs High School, is backing up Branden Albert at the all-important offensive left tackle spot.Question: How special is it playing for the team you grew up following? Answer:
“I’m enjoying it. It’s a dream come true. This team means a lot to me, so I try to practice that way.”
“It meant the world. It’s something I always wanted to do. When I first ran out with the team, it was a good feeling. I’m used to seeing it from the stands, and I looked up in the stands this time and couldn’t believe it. My brothers were there. It was a special moment for them, too.”Q: What are you learning from playing behind Albert? A:
“Everything I can. Everything he does I try to emulate it. He’s been doing it for a long time, he’s been doing a good job with it. I’m just a rookie trying to know what it takes to be as good as him. That’s an everyday struggle. “Q: What did that first preseason game against Arizona show you, especially with the way the Chiefs moved the ball? A:
“It showed me, if you work hard enough in practice, the game will slow down for you. But if you go in there unprepared, it will be a bad day for you.”Q: Did that special feeling of playing for your hometown team have to be put on the back burner once the game started?
“When I first got out there with the team, that’s all I thought about. Then, it just got back to playing football. It’s my first NFL game, whether it’s Arrowhead or anyplace, it’s going to be a big deal. You have to shut all that out and just play football.”Q: Hadn’t you played in a Big 12 Championship Game at Arrowhead? A:
“I played there in 2008 when we played Missouri and went on to (play for) the national championship. I thought that was a special moment. So, having a Chiefs uniform on this time was big.”Q: How did playing at Oklahoma prepare you for the NFL? A:
“They did a real good job. Coach (Bob) Stoops runs a real tight ship, and that’s exactly what Coach (Romeo) Crennel does, and it really prepared me.”Q: Do you still remember the feeling on draft day when the Chiefs picked you? A:
“I was in shock for about 10 minutes. I never knew I would come back home and play. For them to pick me in the third round, it was huge for me and my family.”