J.J. Birden reflects on playing at Arrowhead Stadium and his favorite moment as a Chief

The uncertainty in any NFL player’s career can lead to doubt and failure in most cases while others overcome the adversity. The Kansas City Chiefs have had many unheralded players come through the franchise, with only a special few rising above expectations to make a significant impact.

Former Chiefs wide receiver J.J. Birden has experienced the highs and lows of the NFL journey while pushing himself through a nine-year career. Chiefs Wire’s Ed Easton Jr. spoke to Birden about enjoying the Arrowhead Stadium crowd on the home sidelines and his favorite moment while on the team.

“It’s awesome, knowing that when you walk into Arrowhead Stadium, 80,000 people in red will be cheering for you and celebrating with you,” Birden explained. “You felt sorry for your opponents because it was loud, especially when the offense had the ball. I was so glad I went to Atlanta, and we never played at Arrowhead because I didn’t want to play them there as an opponent.

“Still, it’s one of my cherished memories because every time we played it, I just wanted to get in the endzone, get that place rockin’, and celebrate with them. It’s really cool to see the consistency today, as Arrowhead fans are still rocking. They’re still having fun. There’s a lot to celebrate, as we have a pretty amazing Chiefs team doing some pretty amazing things.”

Birden’s experience at Arrowhead Stadium was helpful in contrast to legendary Raiders star Tim Brown, who tried to avoid the sound of the fans. The former track and field standout revealed his favorite moment as a member of the Chiefs.

“I think it has to be my first NFL touchdown, which took place on October 19, 1990,” Birden said. “We were playing in Seattle in the King Dome. Steve Deberg was the quarterback, and I scored a 33-yard touchdown. That moment stood out most because it was a three-year journey. That was three years of adversity, setbacks, and rejection.

“The year before, the Dallas Cowboys had me on the practice squad. I was there all year, and Jimmie Johnson’s like, go do something else. You can’t play in the NFL. So, I had all these moments of adversity and rejection, but I never gave up because I knew I could play. I just needed to get healthy. And I needed to be in the right situation.”

Birden’s story was far from over. He would earn an opportunity in his third NFL season with the Chiefs.

“Third year, the Chiefs cut me for two weeks; I was at home, but Marty [Schottenheimer] said ‘I’m going to bring you back’, and he did. Then I scored the next week. So that moment was so special because I felt that combination of ‘I made it, I’m here, I’ve proved [to] everybody [that] I can do this. Now, let’s go have a career’, and I went on to have my career. So I think that at that moment, because of all the setbacks and challenges, I never gave up, and I just kept plugging away, and I knew I could. I got the shot at some point and proved I could do it.”

J.J. Birden is a motivational keynote speaker; check his official website for more information. 

Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire