“It was tough,” Quinn said of his time in Denver, “but I think it’s always tougher when things aren’t going well. When a team makes the playoffs and wins a game in the playoffs, you’re doing the best you can just to be supportive. When you’re winning, for whatever reason, I think it’s a little bit easier to deal with than when things aren’t going as well.
“I try to just remember all the good. Regardless of the circumstances … the guys on the team and the coaching staff were great. I tried to get better as a player each day, regardless of whether I was going in there as a starter or a backup … I can’t speak of what did or didn’t happen there, I just know I feel like I got better as a player and made a bunch of friends along the way.”
Quinn’s former teammates understood the awkward plight Quinn found himself in Denver.
“You had Orton, who was obviously playing better than everybody in practice,” said Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey, “and here’s Tebow waiting, and he’s possibly the future … of the franchise so you want to see what he has, and Brady just kind of got caught in the middle of that.
“We’re all pros out there,” inside linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “We know anybody can win on Sunday. Denver is playing at a high level right now and they’re kind of rolling …
“You have to stay motivated. That comes with being a pro. I’ve been through a few years of losing here … if you let it get the best of you … it’s been tough, not winning. We know what we have to do on Sunday. We can’t beat ourselves. When the Chiefs make a mistake, it’s a touchdown or a big play … “
Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel has been pleased with the attitude of his team during a trying season.
“These guys practice good,” Crennel said. “They have good attitudes at practice, they work hard at practice … I make it a good point to talk to these guys about being a team and (it’s) not one guy’s fault. We’re all included where we are right now, and we’re the only ones who can do anything about it.
When Romeo Crennel really wants to torture himself, he will let his mind wander back to the September afternoon in Buffalo when tight end Kevin Boss was hit in the head after making a catch. Boss suffered a concussion, ending his season, and the Chiefs have suffered when trying to pass the ball ever since.
“Sometimes I go down through the stats, and his pass-receiving average is up there and he really didn’t catch that many balls,’’ Crennel said. “When you’ve got a big target like that who can get down the field and make some plays, I think he would have definitely helped our offense.
“We hoped when we added him to the team that he would have been a big plus for us. I think he would have been had he been able to stay healthy.’’
The Chiefs’ parking lot became the biggest party in Kansas City. Arrowhead Stadium became one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. Peterson, who lives in New York now, is one of the strongest connections we have to that time.
“We had fun at it,” he says. “We made it a fun thing. We made it a family thing. Lamar believed very much in that, and I did, too. He was a wonderful owner. He’d say, ‘How can I help?’ I’d say, ‘Lamar, I need you to do a contest in the parking lot to judge buses and vans that fans have painted,’ and he loved that.”
“First and foremost, they’re an AFC West opponent, so it’s a little heightened sense of urgency from both sides,” Bailey said. “I think we definitely can’t go in there with our eyes closed and think we’re going to come out with a win. This is a hungry football team with a lot of talented players. They’ve got a lot of pride so we expect their best shot.”
Both Bannan and safety Mike Adams agreed with Bailey’s claim.
Having played on losing teams in the past — Bannan with St. Louis and Adams with Cleveland — both players brought up how much pride there is in an NFL locker room, regardless of record. Adams said he expects the Broncos to face a team filled with players working as hard as they can on the field this Sunday.