Inside Carlos Dunlap's bittersweet journey to 100 sacks

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS left protective end Carlos Dunlap lined up for a third-down play in the very first quarter of a current video game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 13.

This play was various from any other in Dunlap’s 13-season profession. It finished a mission that started when he showed up in the NFL in 2010, and meet a guarantee he made to his daddy early in his profession.

Dunlap beat ideal take on Jawaan Taylor around the corner, and by the time he got to quarterback Trevor Lawrence, colleague Chris Jones was likewise there. Jones and Dunlap each got credit for a half-sack, which was all Dunlap required to get him to 100 for his profession, something just 40 other NFL gamers have actually achieved.

He commemorated with a somersault, something of a signature relocation for him. He then went back to the sideline, where congratulatory hugs and head taps waited for from much of his colleagues.

The event later on continued at a Kansas City dining establishment with a group of friends and family that included his mom, Diane Jackson.

Still, there was a vacuum in the celebrations for Dunlap. His daddy, Carlos Sr., was not there. He passed away in January after being struck by a vehicle.

“I feel lighter,” Dunlap said. “It’s a big weight raised. It’s bittersweet in the style how it took place. But we wish to enjoy it. It’s something to be commemorated. My father would enjoy for me. My household enjoys for me. There are a great deal of sensations.

“There are a lot of reputable guys who don’t have 100 sacks. A hundred to me is a real milestone . . . puts me in that elite category, which I set out to do from the day I came into this league.”

AFTER SIGNING WITH the Chiefs over the summer, Dunlap’s arrival at training camp was delayed by a couple of days. He had an important stop to make first.

He went to his father’s gravesite in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Once there, he told his dad he would soon embark on a mission to fulfill the dreams for his football career they once shared, which included getting his 100th career sack, winning a playoff game, which he’s never done, and being a Super Bowl champion.

“His father was so essential for him in getting to the NFL,” stated Jackson. “He would come to every game, high school, college and pro.

“Once the season began, he wasn’t going to have the ability to concern Charleston, so he went to talk with his father then. He informed him, ‘I’m with a brand-new group now. I wish to make you happy. I’m going to make it to 100 and we’re going to make it to the playoffs.’ It was his method of speaking to his father and stating, ‘Here we go. I understand you’re not here physically with me, however I understand spiritually you’re here with me.’ I believe Carlos feels that at every video game.”

The 2 were so close that in 2019, when Carlos bet the Cincinnati Bengals, he ran onto the field along with his daddy prior to a video game throughout gamer intros.

Dunlap stated he would not have actually reached the NFL without the assistance of his daddy. Jackson at first would not enable Dunlap to play football, and it wasn’t till he remained in intermediate school that he, with the assistance of Carlos Sr., talked her into letting him play.

Until then, soccer and basketball were his sports.

“My dad since I started playing any sport was at every game, every practice” Dunlap said. “He was my coach in youth league for basketball. When I was more youthful and I had a rough day and the coach would inform me to leave, I left and father got me and took me there and made me do whatever I needed to do to return on the group.

“Clearly it paid off, because I’m blessed to be here today.”

The two talked often when he was drafted by the Bengals in 2010 about what Dunlap was capable of achieving. They set 100 sacks as a goal once he started to pile them up after a few seasons with the Bengals.

Dunlap spent the first 10-plus seasons with Cincinnati before being traded in 2020 to the Seattle Seahawks.

Jackson attends most of Dunlap’s games as well. She took pride in her son’s achievement but was also respectful of the role Carlos Sr. played in it.

“I informed Carlos prior to it took place, ‘Ninety-9 can be for me. Let 100 be for father.’ And everything exercised,” she stated. “I was in awe. I was just so proud of him. Now he could say, ‘I made my dad proud.’ It worked out because he hit 100 even by getting a half-sack. This was perfect. This was how it was supposed to happen.”

DUNLAP IS IN historical company. Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald — a three-time Defensive Player of the Year — is a few spots ahead of him on the all-time sack list at 103. Former Chiefs defensive end Neil Smith finished his 13-year career at 104.5. Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley is in a group of players immediately ahead of Dunlap at 100.5.

“That’s a great deal of eminence because group,” Jones stated. “The closer he got, the harder it gets. I’m glad he got his 100th sack here, with the Chiefs. We got to share it with him.

“Now it has to do with continuing to develop his tradition, whether that’s 110, 105, a Super Bowl ring.”

Dunlap signed with the Chiefs since he was trying to find a location where he might attain his staying profession objectives. He was 0-5 with the Bengals and 0-1 with the Seahawks in the playoffs.

He went into the season with 96 sacks and is betting a group that includes a leading pass-rusher in Jones, and other complementary pass-rushing parts like Frank Clark. The Chiefs are 4th in the league in sacks with 32.

Dunlap’s most noteworthy functions in his pass rush are his size at 6-foot-6 and his long arms. He gain from both as he tries to get to the opposing quarterback.

“He has a real sense of staying alive on his rush,” Chiefs protective line coach Joe Cullen stated. “Sometimes it’s not about beating a blocker 1-on-1, just blowing right by him. You’ve got to fight through the down . . . and just stay alive, working his hands, knowing when to counter back inside. You never see him just get blocked and stop. He’s always working to get to the quarterback. Sometimes he doesn’t always beat the guy clean, but he impacts it.

“That’s something from afar I constantly appreciated about Carlos.”

Dunlap will play his very first video game versus the Bengals on Sunday when the Chiefs go to Cincinnati. His previous colleagues remember his consistency. Dunlap in his very first 12 NFL seasons completed with less than 6 sacks simply when, and with 4 this season is on speed to pass that mark once again.

“He just has an incredible amount of consistency in his production and how healthy he stayed,” Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “It’s a fantastic achievement. It’s not by mishap. … I’m delighted to see his success continue. I understand he’s going to keep choosing more.”

Dunlap’s next individual turning point is to climb up as high up on the sack list as possible. With 4 over the Chiefs’ last 6 video games, for example, Dunlap would end the season at 104, which would be 34th perpetuity.

For the minute, he’s content understanding he reached the objective he set with his late daddy.

“I don’t want to speak for him but he would definitely be proud,” Dunlap said. “He would take ownership because 100. He would most likely get on the phone and begin boasting to all his good friends.”

— ESPN’s Ben Baby added to this report

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