Center Grove grad Steele hopes to catch on with Chiefs

Should Carson Steele someday have children, he’s already compiled a catalog of football plays for those bounce-on-the-knee moments.

One could wind up being played more than the others.

During a Kansas City Chiefs summer workout, quarterback and eventual first-ballot Hall of Fame selection Patrick Mahomes is running right when he flips a behind-the-back pass in the direction of the former Center Grove running back.

Steele, running half-speed, leans back across his body, instinctively reaches up and snags the football with his left hand to the delight of applauding onlookers.

“I almost wasn’t even paying attention, and then he swung it behind his back,” said Steele, one of the team’s undrafted free agent signings following the NFL draft in April. “I was like, ‘Please don’t drop it. Please don’t drop it.’

“(Mahomes) yelled ‘one-handed.’ He yelled it real loud.”

The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Steele, owner of the majority of Center Grove’s single-season and career rushing records after playing here from 2017 to 2020, is running with a rather impressive crowd these days. Mahomes knows his name. So do veteran tight end Travis Kelce, hard-charging feature back Isiah Pacheco and many others.

For a player who grew up dreaming of one day playing in the NFL, Steele, who started his college career at Ball State before spending last season at UCLA, can’t even find time to pinch himself now that he’s with the reigning Super Bowl champions.

“Man, it was just awesome to get that opportunity, and being able to learn from them,” Steele said. “Everything was going so fast, and you just had to focus on learning the new plays.

“A lot of the rookies hung out together at first, but I met Pat, Travis, Pacheco, and all those guys. A little star-struck, yes. Those guys get two lockers, and I’m over in a corner.”

All of which is completely fine to Steele, who at 21 (his birthday is Oct. 21) is among the youngest players on Kansas City’s current 90-man roster.

His goal is to work for a spot on the final 53-man roster, further gain the respect of his coaches and teammates and ultimately carve out an NFL career for himself.

Kansas City players report to training camp on July 21 at Missouri Western State University. The camp runs until Aug. 15.

The Chiefs’ three-game preseason schedule begins at Jacksonville on Aug. 10. The Chiefs’ official defense of last season’s Super Bowl title kicks off at home against Baltimore on Sept. 5.

Steele isn’t planning to be present for some of it, but all of it.

“Honestly, I feel real good about everything,” Steele said. “They’ve got me rolling in and out at running back and at fullback. As long as I’m out there, I’m cool with whatever. I feel like I can fit in somewhere.”

That includes special teams, if it means being on the field and being able to help his team.

Steele is presently back in Johnson County working out at Center Grove until he leaves for training camp. Longtime Trojans football coach Eric Moore has been doing his part in trying to get Steele as camp-ready as possible.

Sprints. Working on blocking technique. Catching passes from Gabe McWilliams, the Trojans’ senior quarterback.

“Just giving him a place to do all his drills, to lift weights and just supporting him. You have to stay focused,” Moore said. “Carson is around the young kids, and he also has a huge playbook to learn.

“It’s just cool that he’s sharing it with everyone. He’s the community’s kid. I’m just awful proud of him. No one deserves an opportunity to be in the NFL more than Carson Steele.”