Danny Shelton feels ready to contribute to KC Chiefs title defense

The veteran defensive tackle says he's not satisfied until he's on the field making contributions.

Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The very fact that Danny Shelton was talking to reporters about his hopes of making the team was a good sign that he will do so.

That's not to say that Shelton can breathe easy knowing he's going to be one of the fortunate 53 players who make the Kansas City Chiefs' active roster at month's end, when the team will be forced to release over two dozen players as they trim the roster from the 90-man offseason version to the 53-man rosters featured in-season. It does bod well, however.

The Chiefs made Shelton available to reporters following practice on Monday as the team weathered the tremendous heat of the day following their win over the Arizona Cardinals over the weekend. Given that a team rarely puts anyone but prime starters, top rookies, and star players in front of reporters, Shelton should at least take heart that he's impressing coaches so far.

That's good news for Shelton, who has come a long way since he first joined the Chiefs a year ago. He signed in the middle of last August and was relegated to the practice squad. He was active only for a single game in the regular season and sat in the postseason as well. He returned this year on a futures deal, but he's ready to contribute this time around as K.C. defends its title.

"My mindset is not to make this tough but to be on the field," said Shelton to reporters. "I want to win my third ring and in order to do that, I need to be on the field and I need to contribute. Not saying being on the practice squad last year that I didn’t contribute but that’s not the lifestyle I want to live, y’know?

"I came into the league wanting to play the game I love. Being on the side last year kind of remotivated me, getting to the Super Bowl and everything. It remotivated me to get back into it, to get back in shape and that was my goal coming to training camp, to just be locked in. I’m ready to win my third ring."

Shelton came into the league in 2015 as a first-round pick out of Auburn with the Cleveland Browns. Like many of the Browns' picks over the years, things didn't quite work out as hoped despite Shelton's ability to start as the team's nose tackle from his first days in the league. The Browns would eventually trade Shelton to the New England Patriots in a swap of draft picks in 2018, and it was there with Bill Belichick that he won his first Super Bowl.

Shelton spent two seasons in New England and then one in Detroit followed by another with the New York Giants in 2021. The last year in Kansas City has been a challenge to get back in shape, but Shelton has slimmed down considerably and is making his presence felt in new ways for a team that could use some help in the interior.

"It felt great being out there, running with the guys," said Shelton. "We’ve got a great group of guys, young guys. Everybody is competitive. I was telling Coach Cullen during training camp how I was impressed with how everybody came during training camp and just upped the competition level. So being out there, it was fun to just compete with everybody."