Former college teammates reunite with Chiefs

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs’ signing of cornerback Jamell Fleming from the Baltimore Ravens practice squad on Sept. 12 placed him in new surroundings for the third time since 2012.

But the third-year pro shared a lot in common with a current Chiefs player, and that helped ease the transition.

Fleming and right tackle Donald Stephenson were college teammates at Oklahoma, and both were third-round draft picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. Stephenson went 74th overall, while Fleming went six picks later to the Arizona Cardinals.

Fleming had to wait until Stephenson finished serving a four-game suspension, but eventually enjoyed seeing his former college teammate in the locker room.

“It was good,” Fleming said Wednesday. “We’re the same age, we came out the same year, went to college the same year. Being able to see him was good for me just because having a familiar face.”

Stephenson was also happy to see Fleming.

“He’s a cool dude,” Stephenson said. “He’s laid back. He’s getting settled in. He had a pretty good game last week.”

Stephenson said there’s a difference now compared to when he and Fleming were in college, and it mostly surrounded becoming comfortable as professional athletes.

“We’re in our third year,” Stephenson said, “kind of getting the system a little bit. We know what it takes.”

Stephenson continues to work in an attempt to regain his starting job, while Fleming drew his first start of the season in Week 7 and led the Chiefs defense with six tackles.

That effort didn’t surprise Stephenson, who said Fleming is a good addition for the Chiefs defense.

“I know he’s a good player,” Stephenson said. “He got his shot last Sunday and he showed what he’s capable of. I’m happy for him.”

Sep 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs fans cheer in the first half against the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium. Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs fans cheer in the first half against the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium. Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

ARROWHEAD REPUTATION

St. Louis Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis knows it’s a challenge to play at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the world record for the loudest outdoor stadium.

But he also appreciates everything about one of the NFL’s storied venues.

“Arrowhead is if not the best, one of the best stadiums to play in, in my opinion,” Laurinaitis said during Wednesday’s media conference call. “I’ve been there in the preseason and it was loud and wild in the preseason. I know how loud and wild they are in the regular season. I’m excited to experience it during a regular season game.”

The sixth-year pro also had respect for the fans filling the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot in the hours before kickoff to energize the atmosphere.

“It’s one of my favorite places to pull up to on the bus because everybody is out there tailgating,” Laurinaitis explained. “It’s football; football done the right way.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL GREATNESS

Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and running backs coach Eric Bieniemy are listed on the ballot for the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame.

Bieniemy, who played at Colorado, played in two national championships and led the Buffalos to the 1990 national title. The Chiefs running backs coach was a unanimous first-team All-American and finished third in 1990 Heisman voting. A prolific college running back, Bieniemy still currently holds eight records at Colorado.

Dorsey played linebacker at Connecticut (1981-83) where he was a first-team All-American in 1983. He was also named the Yankee Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1982 and 1983.

Two other players with ties to the Chiefs are on the ballot.

Defensive end Art Still, whom the Chiefs selected as a first-round pick (second overall) in the 1978, NFL Draft, played at Kentucky where his record 22 tackles for a loss stands today.

Running back Paul Palmer, who played at Temple, was the Chiefs’ first-round pick (19th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft. He played two seasons for Kansas City (1987-88).