Kansas City, Mo. Everything that John Dorsey has done to mold the Kansas City Chiefs since becoming their general manager in January has been influenced by a career spent with the Green Bay Packers.
Fighting for jobs on special teams honed his blue-collar work ethic. His attention to detail was no doubt shaped by coaches such as Mike Holmgren. Longtime front-office executives Bob Harlan, Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson helped Dorsey to develop his approach to player personnel.
So when he shows up at Arrowhead Stadium for tonight’s preseason game against the Packers, it will mean more to Dorsey than just another dress rehearsal for the regular season, or one last chance to evaluate players on the fence heading into the final round of cuts this weekend. It will be a convergence of his past and present.
“I’d been there for a long time,” Dorsey told The Associated Press, “but I’m also of the belief that you learn from the past, you live in the present and you build on the future.”
Dorsey was drafted by the Packers in 1984, and managed to hang on for five years largely as a special-teams standout. His career finally ended with a devastating knee injury, but he’s willing to admit his passion for playing the game had started to wane.
“I was smart enough to realize I had lost it and it was time to move on,” he said. “I had lived out the dream and I was perfectly content with the dream that I lived in terms of a player.”
Indeed, Dorsey had started to have other dreams in football.
He started at the bottom as a college scout for the Packers, slowly rising through the ranks to director of college scouting. He followed Holmgren to the Seahawks as their director of player personnel, but returned to the Packers after a little over a year. He eventually rose to director of football operations in 2011, helping to shape Green Bay’s successful playoff run.
Dorsey was approached several times for general manager positions over the years, but he always was content in Green Bay — that is, until Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt came calling. The allure of another of the NFL’s historic franchises combined with the same Midwestern values that Dorsey had become so enamored of in Green Bay proved to be enough to pry Dorsey out of Wisconsin.
“It looks like John’s been doing a great job,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Looking forward to seeing John as you always do briefly before the game. We all are very fond of John.”
Dorsey comes off nostalgic by nature, but he’s also a professional to the core, and once he catches up with his old friends tonight, it’ll be time to get down to business.