10 longest-tenured players in Kansas City Chiefs history

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Jacksonville Jaguars vs Kansas City Chiefs / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The average NFL career lasts roughly 3.3 years, which makes sense due to how violent the sport is and how cutthroat it is to remain in the league. It's hard to stick around in the NFL but there are plenty of players who are able to not only blow past that 3.3-year average but call themselves an NFL player for over a decade.

In this article, we're going to look at 10 Chiefs who spent the longest amount of time with the team. It's worth noting that players tied in years spent with the team will have the ties broken by games played in.

Honorable Mentions: Jim Tyrer (13 games - 180 games), John Alt (13 years - 179 games), Jack Rudnay (13 years - 178 games)

10. Emmitt Thomas (13 years - 181 games)

Kicking off our list is Emmitt Thomas, who played in Kansas City for 13 years and only ever donned a Chiefs uniform during his lengthy pro career. Thomas was an absolute ball hawk during his career, notching nine interceptions in 1969 and 12 interceptions in 1974.

Thomas finished his pro career with two AFL Championships, one Super Bowl title, five Pro Bowls, and one All-Pro nod. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

T8. Buck Buchanan (13 years - 182 games)

The first overall pick in the 1963 AFL Draft was none other than Buck Buchanan, who became a Chiefs legend over his 13 AFL/NFL seasons. Buchanan helped the Chiefs win two AFL Championships and one Super Bowl while he was an eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro.

While sacks weren't an official stat until 1982, Buchanan would have had 70.5 sacks on his resumé had they counted while he was playing. His career-high in sacks was 8.5, which he accomplished during the 1967 season.

Buchanan's final NFL season came in 1975 and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. He spent the entirety of his 13-year career with the Chiefs.

T8. Derrick Johnson (13 years - 182 games)

With their first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected Derrick Johnson and a Chiefs legend was born. Johnson spent 13 years in Kansas City and got better with age. From 2010 to 2013, Johnson started all but one game and racked up over 100 tackles in each of those seasons.

Johnson was a four-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro during his lengthy Chiefs career. While he did unfortunately finish his NFL career with the Raiders, he'll always be known for what he did during his Chiefs tenure.

7. Jan Stenerud (13 years - 186 games)

Jan Stenerud won't be the first kicker that appears on this list and it makes sense considering that kickers don't take as much of a beating as a lot of the other positions on the field. Stenerud joined the Chiefs in 1966 as a third-round pick in the AFL Redshirt Draft out of the powerhouse university Montana State.

Stenerud went on to kick for the Chiefs for 13 seasons and finished his lengthy KC tenure with a field goal percentage of 64.0% and extra-point conversion rate of 96.5%. Stenerud was on the Chiefs roster when the team won Super Bowl IV and last kicked for them in the 1979 season before spending time with the Packers and Vikings over the final six years of his career.

Stenerud was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991 and was named All-Pro during the 1970 season after making 30 field goals on 42 attempts.

6. Ed Budde (14 years - 177 games)

With the eighth overall pick in the 1963 AFL Draft, the Chiefs selected Ed Budde out of Michigan State. Budde went on to play left guard for the Chiefs for 14 years and never played a snap with another organization.

During his lengthy Chiefs career, Budde was a seven-time Pro Bowler, crowned All-Pro twice, won two AFL Championships, and won one Super Bowl. Budde passed away in 2023.

5. Len Dawson (14 years - 183 games)

After five years in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, the Chiefs signed Len Dawson in 1962 when they were still the Dallas Texans. It turned out to be one of the best decisions the franchise ever made, as Dawson played for the team for 14 seasons and helped lead them to three AFL Championships and one Super Bowl title. He was also crowned Super Bowl IV MVP.

The NFL was a much different animal when Dawson was playing yet his passing yards record is still standing, at least as of this writing (Patrick Mahomes will likely surpass it during the 2024 season). Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and sadly passed away in 2022.

4. Nick Lowery (14 years - 212 games)

Remember when I said that we hadn't seen the last of a kicker on this list? Well, the longest-tenured kicker in Chiefs history is Nick Lowery, who spent 14 years as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. Lowery spent the 1978 season with the Patriots before landing with the Chiefs in the 1980 season.

From there, Lowery went on to kick for the Chiefs for 14 seasons, and finished his career with a career field goal percentage of 80.2 and an extra-point percentage of 99.2%. He was a three-time All-Pro kicker and named to two Pro Bowls during his Chiefs tenure.

3. Will Shields (14 years - 224 games)

With a third-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, the Chiefs wisely added Will Shields out of Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were a powerhouse in the 90s and Shields became a powerhouse of his own when he arrived in Kansas City, starting nearly every single game of his 14-year playing career.

Shields was a part of some dominant Chiefs offensive lines and locked down the right guard position, helping the Chiefs run game be the best it could be during those years. Shields retired following the 2006 season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. During his career, he was named to 12 Pro Bowls, was crowned All-Pro twice, and won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2003. He also made the Hall of Fame All-2000s Team.

2. Jerrel Wilson (15 years - 203 games)

For 15 years, Jerrel Wilson was the punter of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs drafted Wilson in the 11th round of the 1963 AFL Draft and he punted for them until the end of the 1977 season.

During his time in KC, Wilson made three Pro Bowls while winning two AFL Championships and one Super Bowl. He was named to the Hall of Fame All-1970s Team as well.

Wilson spent one year with the Patriots in 1978 but the other 15 seasons of his 16-year career were all spent in Kansas City with the Chiefs.

1. Dustin Colquitt (15 years - 238 games)

The longest-tenured Chief is none other than Dustin Colquitt, who was the team's punter for 15 seasons. The Chiefs spent a third-round pick on Colquitt in the 2005 NFL Draft in what many at the time probably thought was a ridiculously high pick to spend on a punter. Well, the joke's on them because look at how long Colquitt ended up spending with the team that drafted him.

Colquitt saw the team go through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows but his career definitely started with the lowest of lows. There were several seasons where Colquitt was one of the best players on the team. In his final year with KC, Colquitt finally saw the team he'd spent 15 seasons with not only reach the Super Bowl but win it all.

It was cool seeing Colquitt get to win a Super Bowl with the team he'd spent so much time with and made parting ways with him after the season a little easier to absorb.