It was August 4th when defensive end Carlos Dunlap took the podium at Kansas City Chiefs' training camp for his first presser with his new team. The veteran pass-rusher fielded question after question, but when asked to explain his decision to sign with Kansas City, his reasoning was abundantly clear.
"This is my 13th year, and I've played a lot of football, but [there's three things] I haven't done: I haven't gotten over 100 sacks, I haven't won a playoff game, and I haven't won a Super Bowl," Dunlap said. "Those are the things that I'd like to do at this point in my career. I'm in hot pursuit, and I feel like this team gives me a great opportunity – the best opportunity – to do it."
Well, six months later, Dunlap has a chance at a clean sweep of those goals. The 33-year-old edge rusher recorded the 100th sack of his tremendous career in Week 10, making him one of only 41 players to hit that mark since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Then, just a few weeks ago, Dunlap helped Kansas City defeat Jacksonville in the Divisional Round to notch the first postseason win of his career.
Two of his three goals are secured, and now with Super Bowl LVII just a handful of days away, Dunlap has a shot at making his initial vision a reality.
"This is why I signed up and why I chose to be here," Dunlap said. "There was mutual interest: they wanted a veteran rusher, and I wanted the opportunity to make a run in the postseason and to be in this game. I feel like it was the perfect marriage."
Dunlap played a critical role in the Chiefs' path to this moment, too. He recorded a season-high seven pressures against Cincinnati in the AFC Championship Game, trailing only defensive lineman Chris Jones (who had 10) in the category. It was the kind of performance that was indicative of a player who wouldn't be denied, and he's hungry for more.
"This is the best of the best," Dunlap said. "As a competitor, you want to compete with the best. [We] have that opportunity on Sunday to be one of the two best teams in the world, and I don't think anything gets better than that, but we want to be the best in the world, so we have to get the job finished."
Dunlap will have that opportunity on Sunday as he takes aim at completing all three of his training camp goals in the span of just one season. It's all right there for both Dunlap and the Chiefs, but at every turn, the 13-year-veteran provided a reminder that there's still work to be handled.
"The key word is 'almost.' The job isn't done," Dunlap said. "I'm two for three right now, but I'm trying to go three for three. We're here – I'm just trying to take it all in and save it for Sunday."