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Chiefs legend Dante Hall reflects on joining team’s Ring of Honor

The ‘Human Joystick’ is proud of his era of Chiefs football.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs

On Friday, while hosting the 2023 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs announced that wide receiver Dante Hall would be named to the team’s Ring of Honor in the upcoming season.

The franchise record-holder for both kick and punt return touchdowns learned the news amid his favorite post-football hobby.

“I was golfing,” Hall recalled Saturday speaking to Kansas City media, “so my phone was away. I had a moment to check it, and I see a 214 number. I recognize that. I’m a Texas guy — that’s Dallas. Who do I know in Dallas? I’m thinking it’s family. I check my voicemail, and it’s [Chiefs chairman and CEO] Clark Hunt. In a monotone voicemail, he tells me, ‘This is Clark Hunt from the Chiefs. Give me a call back when you have a chance.’

“You know me, this could be really good — or really bad. That’s what I’m thinking. What have I done in the past? Then, I call him back — and it was obviously great news. I go to the tee-box on my next shot — and I’m a pretty good golfer, pretty much down the middle for the most part. I was so excited and fill with so much joy, that tee-shot went so far right I never saw that ball again.

“Amazing moment for me. I was doing what I love — and the team that I love the most called and gave me that great news.”

Hall identified the honor as his greatest accomplishment.

“I think I realize as I’ve gotten older,” he explained, “that this organization — the late, great Lamar Hunt — took a chance on me: an immature kid. They nurtured me [and] the gave me time to mature and grow. I appreciate that so much because I realize most organizations, most team, coaches, they don’t do that. To live out my childhood dream, fall in love with this team, and now to have that team reciprocate that love back is by far the best accomplishment.”

San Diego Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Seeing his name immortalized in his home stadium will cement life lessons he has tried to instill in his children.

“It’s really not about me,” he claimed. “It’s more so, I can now take my kids to Arrowhead and be like, ‘Look! Look what Daddy did.’ When I preach working hard and striving for success, I’m not just talking out of both sides of my mouth. I have proof that I know what it takes.”

Hall was one of the Chiefs’ most electric players in what was — at the time — the most prolific offensive era in franchise history under head coach Dick Vermeil. Though his seven seasons in Kansas City from 2000 to 2006 never saw playoff success, he hopes they will be properly remembered.

Vermeil talks with Hall Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

“Maybe we were just a cornerstone — and a stepping stone and a foundation — for what [the Chiefs] have now,” Hall pondered. “I know Coach Vermeil and that staff — and the guys he brought in — we really tried our best to bring the Lamar Hunt Trophy back here. We didn’t get it done, but we really were dedicated to getting the job done, even though we didn’t.”

Hall also appeared to show some of the similar frustrations longtime Chiefs fans have about the early 2000s.

“When I run into these guys — it’s mainly family talk and not a lot of football,” he said of conversations with former teammates. “But when football is brought up, if it’s the offensive guys, we blame the defense. And if it’s the defensive guys, they’re aware. They kind of let us down a little bit: letting Peyton Manning score 38 points at Arrowhead. That’s pretty much how the conversation goes.”

15 years after his playing career ended, Hall has become an avid fan of the team he is most associated with.

NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

“You’d think I never played for the Chiefs — I’m an absolute fan,” he claimed. “I watch every game. If they’re on...that window is off limits to anything other than watching. I make it back to a lot of games. But if I’m not here, I’m definitely watching. I never miss a Lebron game [and] I never miss a Chiefs game.”

Even after transitioning to fandom, he wonders what he could be with the current Chiefs and head coach Andy Reid.

“I’m a big fan of watching this offense,” he reiterated. “I constantly say I would have loved to play in this Andy Reid-led offense. Some of the plays he designs [and] the creativity — I would have loved to be in that slot working alongside [tight end Travis] Kelce and getting passes thrown from Patrick Mahomes.”

While he never had the opportunity to win a Super Bowl, he appreciates that his induction was announced as the Chiefs hosted the draft at Union Station coming off of a championship-winning season.

“I’m running on fumes, right now,” he declared. “It’s been amazing. It’s been non-stop: ‘Be here, be there.’ What an honor to be selected after the Chiefs won a Super Bowl, as they’re hosting the NFL Draft, and to be incorporated and a part of it all is just amazing.”

Hall was the league’s most feared return man in his career, earning the nickname “The Human Joystick.” The moniker may be based on outdated technology, at least to his children’s generation.

“I simply lead them to YouTube,” he said, explaining the reference to today’s youth. “Google YouTube!.”

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