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Chiefs' Donald Stephenson says practicing against Justin Houston makes the games easier

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Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Many offensive tackles around the league are circling their game against the Kansas City Chiefs this season because they'll get a chance to face off against the NFL's reigning sack king, Justin Houston.

Donald Stephenson is a Chief so he doesn't have to worry about facing Houston in a game that counts but he still gets a shot at him during practice.

"I'm glad I get to practice against him every day," Stephenson told the guys on 810 WHB's Border Patrol this week. "It makes the games easier sometimes. It's a blessing having him around."

Stephenson said he has been working his butt off this offseason and understands what's at stake -- the final year of his contract.

"I train a lot smarter now," he said. "When I was a rookie, I felt like I was doing a lot of running around with not much direction. I'm getting around guys that have been there and done it, guys that are already working on their second contracts and being able to stay in the league for a long time."

Stephenson appears to be the leading candidate for the Chiefs right tackle job on an offensive line that received some much needed experience with the trade for guard Ben Grubbs.

"We're pretty young up front all the way around," Stephenson said. "I think the guys upstairs knew that we needed a veteran, someone that's won some games, that's played in Pro Bowls and things like that. We need his experience. We can learn a lot from him. I think it's going to be a good mixture of guys."

This is indeed a HUGE year for Stephenson. If he plays well, he'll set himself up for a nice pay day either from the Chiefs or someone else on the free agent market. For the Chiefs sake, here's to Stephenson taking the leap.