Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Carlos Dunlap signed with the club during training camp with three crystal clear goals in mind: get to 100.0 sacks, win a playoff game and take home the Lombardi Trophy by winning the Super Bowl. Dunlap was forthcoming with those goals in his very first media appearance as a Chief.
The 13-year veteran has already crossed the first two off his list — in Week 10, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dunlap shared a sack with Chris Jones to get him over the 100 mark. Then he beat those same Jaguars in the Divisional Round to win his first career playoff game.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Dunlap recalled his trip to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph to meet with the Chiefs personnel and coaching staff. After eight seasons in Cincinnati and two in Seattle, he found a new home with the Chiefs.
“They needed a veteran rusher to add to the rushers,” said Dunlap. “They had a young guy like George [Karlaftis] that was coming in, wanted me to give him the tools, and I was gonna have the opportunity to be in the rotation with a Super Bowl contender. For me, that was a perfect storm. That’s why, after meeting with them and leaving with that meeting, I loved that opportunity.”
Dunlap mentored Karlaftis — who developed nicely throughout the year, closing the season with 5.5 sacks over seven games. Karlaftis recorded another sack against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship.
“He’s been huge for me,” said Karlaftis. “Him and I play similarly. There’s a little bit of differences in our game and stuff, but he’s been massive for my development — both as a player, as a professional and an individual. He’s been incredible — not just for me, but for our room.”
In Super Bowl LVII, Karlaftis and Dunlap will be tasked with defending against the league’s most dangerous rushing attack; Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts and his running backs led the league in 2022.
“You got to have got very disciplined eyes — very disciplined eyes and technique,” said Dunlap. “They’re gonna try to get the ends influenced by all the different things they do and try to get Hurts matched up on the end in space. There’s different ways that they go about it. I want to go into detail too much, but the most disciplined team and defense that sets the tone in the trenches, I think, will win the game.”
If that all happens, thinking back to training camp, the 33-year-old will seem prophetic.
“Man, 100 sacks, playoff game. We’re on track,” he said. “My vision was clear on what I set my sights and my heart’s on, and I look forward to wearing all of that on my sleeve on Sunday.
“If you can see I’m shaking right now because I just can’t wait. But it’s Tuesday, so I’m trying to save — you know, save it.”