Late in the first quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 27-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City defensive end Carlos Dunlap reached an important career milestone. It happened when he and defensive tackle Chris Jones combined on a nine-yard sack of Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The half-sack Dunlap earned on the play gave him four sacks on the season — and brought him to an even 100 over his 13-season career, becoming the 62nd player to reach the century mark.
“Being able to get that accomplished is a huge milestone and accomplishment,” he told reporters after the game. “As a young player coming into the league, that was a goal: playing ten-plus years [and] getting a hundred-plus sacks to be in that elite category of the guys who have ever done that.
“To get that done today — and to share it with a guy who has potential to be there was well — was a very special moment.”
Dunlap had recently revealed that reaching the mark had been important to his late father — but on Sunday, he was focused on the moment.
“It’s bittersweet in the fashion that it happened,” he remarked. “But we want to enjoy it. It’s something to be celebrated. My dad would be happy for me. My family’s happy for me. We want to enjoy it and celebrate the moment versus any other feelings. There’s a lot of feelings, of course — but the best thing to do, I think, is to celebrate it, to enjoy it, to be present in the moment.”
Dunlap credited his family and coaches for helping him persevere.
“Personally,” he said, “I think it’s a tribute to all the coaches’ investment [and] my family — who is here. My mom, her investment — her [and] my dad — laid the foundation and helped me and guided me along the way. [They] nudged me back in between the railroad tracks — when I got off the tracks — to be the person I am today.”
Reflecting on the 100-sack threshold also gave Dunlap the opportunity to compare Sunday’s moment to his first sack — which came against a Hall of Famer.
“It’s funny,” Dunlap recalled, “my first sack, actually, I believe happened on the exact same move — except it was [a] completely different guy. But this quarterback has a lot of potential, too. My first sack was on Peyton Manning. [With Lawrence], obviously the sky is the limit for him. They drafted him as a first-round pick, they’re putting weapons around him [and] getting the coaching going. It’s tough to build a culture. That team’s developing something — and they have the core pieces to build around.”
With his career still underway, Dunlap is uninterested in considering hypotheticals. But he does know which quarterback he most wishes he could have brought down.
“There’s one guy,” he admitted, “who I didn’t get that got out of the league before I got to him: Michael Vick. I got him in the preseason so it doesn’t count. Things like that, I’ll reflect on once I’m done playing football — but I’m not done yet.”
Now on his third team, Dunlap said before the season that his other goal is to win a playoff game for the first time in his career. He plans to give this moment proper celebration before moving on to other his (and his teammates’) other goals.
“It was special having all my teammates rush me when they put it up on the board,” he said. “Now we’re going on, pressing forward [and] trying to make more history — because there’s a couple more milestones that can be obtained out there. We have a very special team — as you saw today. [We will] clean up some things — and we’re going to get after those, too.”
Dunlap thinks that going after those milestones will start by focusing on the stretch of games now before him.
“Today, we got the win,” he said, “I got the hundred mark. We want to continue to build on those pillars and win the month of November — so we can focus on winning in December and keep pressing forward from there.”