Moving Up

NEW ORLEANS - Sunday was like a homecoming for Jerrell Powe. The former Ole Miss football player now with the Kansas City Chiefs came off the field smiling when he saw familiar faces. And also because his team had just won in dramatic fashion.

Follow SpiritJeff on Twitter

Both the Chiefs and Saints entered Sunday's game 0-2. Kansas City fell behind 24-6 in the third quarter before rallying in a big way for a 27-24 overtime win. Ryan Succop, the former South Carolina Gamecock placekicker, had made five field goals in regulation and added the game-winner for a total of six on the day.

For Powe, who played much of the game at nose tackle, it was a joyous occasion for all the right reasons.

"Rebels in the house!" said Powe, in his second season with the Chiefs, when he saw several of those familiar faces following the game as he headed toward the tunnel leading to the locker room.

Ole Miss had defeated Tulane 39-0 in the same building the day before. Powe said the Chiefs had landed in the city Saturday after the Ole Miss game was over.

Powe, an Ole Miss team co-captain in 2010, knows about perseverance. It's paying off for him again, this time at the highest level in the NFL.

"When I came in this league," said Powe, "I'd never really played in a 3-4 scheme, so it was important that I slow down. I was coming from a 4-3 scheme. I've improved. This team believed in me. This coaching staff believed in me. I played the whole game from halfway through the first quarter (Sunday). So from that, I would say I have improved a lot."

Powe said when people talk about bringing your "A" game, it‘s an everyday thing in the National Football League. There are no days off, and he understands that completely.

"Everybody is good in this league," said Powe, now 25 years old. "My biggest challenge was you can't dog everybody. You can't come off the ball like you may have come off in college. It's more of a scheme now. You've got centers that are true veterans that can scheme you and do little things.

"When I say everybody's got a position and have to take care of their whole responsibility," Powe continued, "that's real big in this league. If you lose that, you get passed."

In addition to a lot of Ole Miss fans who stayed over from Saturday to watch the NFL game, Powe said his home area of Wayne County was impressively represented.

"There's 31 people here," he said, obviously meaning how many he knew of in attendance, with an excellent chance there were more he hadn't "counted" from home. "And a lot of Ole Miss guys stayed around and showed a lot of love. It was good to see the Ole Miss family."

Jerrell Powe
Bruce Newman

Powe is excited about the future for Ole Miss football. First-year head coach Hugh Freeze is obviously someone he knows well, with both having been a part of the program at the same time. Powe arrived when Freeze was an assistant coach.

"I believe in Coach Freeze, and it's just like I told a lot of the people at Ole Miss, you've got to believe and give this guy a chance," Powe said. "This is SEC football. Those guys are young but they're playing good football. With a couple of good recruiting years, we'll be a contender."

But his main focus now, obviously, is the Kansas City Chiefs. He and fellow Rebels Kendrick Lewis and Dexter McCluster currently wear the red and gold. Lewis has been sideline with a shoulder injury since the last preseason game and didn't play Sunday.

McCluster was injured in the third quarter of the game Sunday and never returned. It appeared to be an elbow injury or perhaps even something that affected his shoulder, but there is no definite word from the Chiefs as of this morning.

However, McCluster did give a shout out to his fans via social media, and that included an Ole Miss mention at the end of it:

Thanks everyone for your prayers and concerns!! But hey, don't worry about me I'll be fine!! I had the full armor of Christ on so I'm good!! Faith is always key in times like this and God always gives us oppirtunitie to show that faith!! Alright Alright Go chiefs and Hotty Toddy

As for the Chiefs, they move on from here with renewed enthusiasm for the season. They host the San Diego Chargers Sunday.

"It was a big game. Both teams came in 0-2. It was a big win for us," Powe said. "Both teams were looking to turn their season around. It was definitely a big win for us, and something to give us a big lift to turn this season around. We responded well. It was the first time our team had responded to adversity."

Adversity. That's something Powe knows about and something he knows about working through.

"One thing I've always done is take coaching," Powe said. "This is a long term goal of mine that I've achieved. I'm here now. Everybody's going through potholes in life. I just take it as it comes and keep on moving. I'm thankful for the opportunity that the Chiefs organization gave me a chance, and I'm here to embrace it and move forward."

This year's Chiefs' team will do well to follow the path Powe took to get where he is today.

"Stay consistent. Start early. Finish. Stay late," he said. "However long it takes. That's all we can do.

"We showed we can respond to adversity today. We've just got to continue to build. We've got a young good team, and we've got to continue to believe in one another. Together, it's powerful."

OM Spirit Top Stories