Marcus Kemp could only watch as the Kansas City Chiefs won the 2020 Super Bowl with a 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Miami.
Kemp tore his ACL and MCL during the 2019 preseason, leaving him unable to participate throughout the duration of the season. He eventually got a Super Bowl ring, but to him, the feeling wasn’t the same. It was bittersweet.
In 2020, over a dozen transactional moves had Kemp bouncing around from the practice squad to the active roster. He was also cut twice by Kansas City and joined the Miami Dolphins for two games. Prior to Sunday’s AFC championship game, Kemp rejoined the active roster for the Chiefs and recovered a crucial onside kick to seal a 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills.
“Especially last year, having to miss the entire season and watching my team succeed, I love those guys so it’s great to see them succeed but to be a part of it and come out this week and even though my part was small, it was a part so to be involved in winning that game and sending us to the Super Bowl is special to me and obviously something I’ll hold for the rest of my life,” Kemp told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello.
Kemp has played his entire NFL career primarily on special teams, a far cry from when he had 2,570 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns as a receiver at Hawaii from 2013 to 2016. Kemp has grown accustomed to his new role and hopes it encourages other young players to find their niche in the pros in order to succeed.
“I think my story is something that can bring awareness to people in my situation,” Kemp said. “I mean, even when I was coming out I didn’t understand what the bottom of the roster really felt like for people and what the practice squad or that 53rd man really feels like so I think if you can use my story to help you understand that you have a shot in the NFL, just because at one moment someone says no, that doesn’t mean that’s the end of your work to get to where you want to be and it’s not always glitz and glamor, it’s not always those $100 million contracts for the guys, a lot of the time it’s practice squad elevations and cuts and re-signs and I feel very grateful and blessed to have these opportunities and to be involved in something like this and just to know that at any moment it could all go away and so I cherish these moments when I can.”