The Kansas City Chiefs are set to play the Denver Broncos for the second time in the 2015 season on Sunday. But there's one player the team will be facing for the first time, and he's more familiar with the city than most.
Broncos rookie outside linebacker Shane Ray is a Kansas City native. In the first matchup of the season in Week 2, Ray saw playing time, but veteran outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware took most of the snaps and stats.
Ray hailed from the University of Missouri, where he was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior while also leading the conference in sacks (14.5) and tackles for loss (22.5). That same year, Ray racked up consensus first-team All-America honors, first team All-SEC honors and was a Hendricks Award finalist.
But before college, Ray was a high school football player coached by one of the greatest Chiefs offensive linemen in history—Pro Bowler Tim Grunhard.
Grunhard anchored one of the best offensive lines in franchise history from 1990-2000, a decade in which the Chiefs made playoff runs seven times. The interior line, featuring Grunhard and guards Dave Szott and Will Shields, later became known as "The Firm."
Grunhard was head coach of the Bishop Miege Stags when Ray was in high school. It was there Ray developed into a star, commanding Division I scholarships from schools like Kansas, Kansas State and Wisconsin before choosing Missouri.
Ray was drafted 23rd overall in 2015 to the Denver Broncos in an effort to fortify a lethal pass rush—one in which Ray would learn under leaders Ware and fellow outside linebacker Von Miller.
In Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, Ray suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and was projected to miss four to six weeks. The rookie returned to practice Wednesday for Denver and is expected to play on Sunday if all continues to go well.
- In six career games vs. the Broncos, QB Alex Smith has thrown for 7 touchdowns with an average of 219.3 yards per game. He boasts a 77.8 QBR against Denver.
- Earlier this season, CB Marcus Peters faced the Broncos for the first time in his NFL career and had 5 solo tackles, 4 passes defended and returned an interception for a touchdown.
- In eight career games against the Broncos, LB Justin Houston has 50 total tackles (44 solo) and 6.5 sacks. He also has 9 tackles for loss, 9 quarterback hurries, 4 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.
- LB Derrick Johnson has 99 tackles (89 solo), 1.5 sacks, 11 passes defended, 2 touchdowns on 4 interceptions, 4 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery in 19 contests against Denver.
- Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck (2004-12), Broncos strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson (2009-11), assistant strength and conditioning coach Mike Eubanks (2009-11) and assistant strength and conditioning coach Anthony Lomando (2009-11) were on Jacksonville's coaching staff together. Heck served as an offensive line coach, Eubanks as strength staff assistant, Lomando as strength staff assistant and Richesson as strength and conditioning coach. Additionally, Denver LB Brandon Marshall also spent time on Jacksonville's roster during the 2012 season and Denver special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis (2007-08) coached the Jaguars' special teams unit.
- Broncos defensive assistant coach Chris Beake (2010) spent time on the coaching staff in San Francisco as an offensive assistant while Chiefs QB Alex Smith (2005-12) was part of the 49ers roster.
- Kansas City defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas (2002-09) held various titles, including secondary coach, senior defensive assistant, assistant head coach and interim head coach in Atlanta while Denver offensive line coach Clancy Barone (2004-06) served as a tight ends coach and assistant offensive line coach, defensive quality control Chris Beake (2004-06) held the title of linebackers coach and quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Greg Knapp (2004-06) was listed as offensive coordinator.
- Broncos defensive quality control coach Chris Beake (2008-09) was Seattle's offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp (2009) held the title of offensive coordinator while Chiefs director of pro scouting Will Lewis (1999-11) held the positions of director of pro personnel and vice president of football operations.
- Kansas City offensive line coach Andy Heck (1994-98) was on Chicago's roster as an offensive lineman while Denver running backs coach Eric Studesville (1997-00) served as an offensive quality control coach.
- Broncos OLB DeMarcus Ware (2005-13) was a member of the Dallas Cowboys while Chiefs linebackers coach Gary Gibbs (2002-05) served in the same capacity.
- Chiefs defensive assistant and secondary coach Al Harris concluded his playing career in 2011 with the St. Louis Rams, where he teamed with Broncos S Darian Stewart (2010-13).
- Chiefs DL Nick Williams (2013-14) was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers with Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (2010-13).
- Broncos WR Jordan Norwood (2009) and G Evan Mathis (2011-14) played for the Philadelphia Eagles, where the two played for numerous members of the current Chiefs staff, including head coach Andy Reid. Additionally, Norwood and Mathis were teammates of Chiefs WRs Jeremy Maclin (2009-14) and Jason Avant (2006-13). Norwood went to play for the Browns from 2010-12, where he played for chiefs spread game analyst and special projects Brad Childress, who was the offensive coordinator in Cleveland in 2012.
- Broncos ILB Todd Davis spent part of the 2014 season as a member of the New Orleans Saints, where he was a teammate of Chiefs G Ben Grubbs (2012-14).
- Chiefs OL Jah Reid (2011-2014) spent 2014 season with the Baltimore Ravens when Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak (2014) was the offensive coordinator, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison (2014) was the quarterbacks coach, tight ends coach Brian Pariani (2014) was in the same position and assistant special teams coach Tony Coaxum (2014) was a special teams intern.
- Kansas City LB Josh Mauga (2009-13) played for the New York Jets while Denver assistant secondary coach Samson Brown (2010-11) served as a coaching assistant, Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton (2000-12) served in the same role and Chiefs assistant linebackers coach Mark DeLeone (2012) was a defensive assistant with the Jets.
- Broncos quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Greg Knapp (2007-08) spent the 2008 season as the offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Joe Woods (2014) coached Chiefs S Tyvon Branch (2008-14) while they were a part of the Oakland Raiders and again when Knapp returned to Oakland to serve as the offensive coordinator in 2012. Additionally, Denver DE Antonio Smith (2014) was a member of the Oakland Raiders defense for one season.
- Kansas City director of pro scouting Will Lewis (1995-96) served as a defensive assistant coach for the Atlanta Falcons when Denver defensive line coach Bill Kollar (1990-2000) was the defensive line coach.
- Broncos outside linebackers coach Fred Pagac (2006-13) served as the linebackers coach for the Minnesota Vikings and Denver defensive backs coach Joe Woods (2006-13) served in the same role when Chiefs spread game analyst and special projects coach Brad Childress (2006-10) was the head coach of the Vikings and Chiefs running backs coach Eric Bieniemy (2006-10) served as the running backs coach.
- Chiefs QB Alex Smith (2005-12) and Broncos TE Vernon Davis (2006-15) were first round picks of the 49ers in back-to-back seasons and became teammates with the 49ers for seven seasons. Including the postseason, Davis hauled in 45 touchdown receptions in the seven seasons where he was a teammate of Smith's.
- Broncos quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Greg Knapp spent training camp with the Chiefs in 1986 as a quarterback.
- Denver T Ryan Harris was a member of the Chiefs offensive line in 2014.
- Denver outside linebackers coach Fred Pagac (2004-05) served at the linebackers coach for the Chiefs.
- Denver DE Vance Walker played one season for the Chiefs in 2014.
- Chiefs assistant strength and conditioning coach Brent Salazar spent the 2005 season in Denver as a strength and conditioning intern.
- Kansas City assistant head coach and wide receivers Coach David Culley (1991-93) served as the wide receivers coach at Texas A&M while Denver offensive line coach Clancy Barone (1993) served as an assistant offensive line coach.
- Broncos P Britton Colquitt (2005-08) and Chiefs S Eric Berry (2007-09) were teammates at Tennessee. Furthermore, Broncos DL Malik Jackson (2010-11) was a teammate at the University of Tennessee with Chiefs OL Zach Fulton (2010-13).
- Kansas City LB Josh Mauga (2005-08) was a teammate at Nevada with Denver LB Brandon Marshall (2007-11) and TE Virgil Green (2007-10).
- Denver LB Larentee McCray (2008-12) was a teammate with Kansas City DT Jaye Howard (2008-11) at the University of Florida.
- Broncos ILB Corey Nelson (2010-13) played with numerous members of the Chiefs during his time as an Oklahoma Sooner: OL Donald Stephenson (2008-11), CB Jamell Fleming (2007-11) and LS James Winchester (2010-11).
- Chiefs assistant defensive line coach Britt Reid (2010-12) was a student assistant before being promoted to graduate assistant at Temple University while Broncos K Brandon McManus (2010-12) was a kicker and punter for the Owls.
- Kansas City K Cairo Santos (2010-13) went to Tulane with Denver rookie CB Lorenzo Doss (2012-14).
- Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips spent the 1975 season as the defensive line coach at the University of Kansas.
Hometown and Local
- Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt and Denver P Britton Colquitt are brothers. The two come from a family of NFL punters including their father, Craig Colquitt and uncle, Jimmy Colquitt.
- Denver defensive assistant coach Chris Beake is from Kansas City, Mo.
- Denver strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson was born in Kansas City, Mo., and started his career as a strength and conditioning intern for the University of Kansas in 1997.
- Broncos DT Sylvester Williams calls Jefferson City, Mo., his home and he attended Jefferson City High School.
- Kansas City assistant strength and conditioning coach Brent Salazar is a Denver, Colo., native.
- Denver CBs Aqib Talib (2005-07), and Chris Harris Jr. (2007-10) played collegiately at Kansas. Both were members of the Jayhawks' 2008 Orange Bowl-winning team, a game in which Talib was named Orange Bowl MVP.
- Chiefs running backs coach Eric Bieniemy attended the University of Colorado, where he was a two-time All Big-Eight performer and earned Conference Player of the Year as a senior. He is the school's all-time leader in rushing yards (3,940), all-purpose yards (4,351) and touchdowns (42). Bieniemy returned to Boulder to coach the running backs for two seasons (2001-02) once his playing career was finished. He also coached at Colorado as the school's offensive coordinator from 2011-12.
- Chiefs S Eric Berry and Broncos RB Juwan Thompson are both from Fairburn, Ga.
- Chiefs DL Nick Williams and Broncos G Evan Mathis are natives of Birmingham, Ala.
- Chiefs rookie TE James O'Shaughnessy and Broncos TE Owen Daniels both hail from Naperville, Ill.
- Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak and Chiefs linebacker coach Gary Gibbs are both from Houston, Texas.
- Broncos WR Andre Caldwell and Chiefs QB Aaron Murray and LB Ramik Wilson are all from Tampa. Fla. Although they didn't overlap in their times there, Caldwell and Wilson both attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa.