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 inspire them for a lasting impact.”Lewis sa

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KANSAS CITY Greedy Williams Jersey , Mo. (AP) — The even-keeled executive with the crisp suit and winning smile stood inside the mostly empty Kansas City Chiefs locker room, his team having just won a home playoff game for the first time in 25 years.He talked about how much it meant to their long-suffering fans. Spoke glowingly about coach Andy Reid, and his young superstar quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. He praised the rest of a team that captured its third straight AFC West title before knocking off the Colts in the playoffs.It wasn’t until Clark Hunt was asked about winning the AFC title game that he became emotional.You see, the Chiefs were founded by his father, the late Lamar Hunt, who along with seven others in what would be called “The Foolish Club” founded the AFL.The personable Texas businessman’s importance to establishing the modern NFL was honored in 1984, when the league renamed the silver trophy awarded to the winner of the AFC championship game the Lamar Hunt Trophy.So it’s easy to understand why his son, now the team’s chairman and the most visible face of the ownership family, would have tears in the corners of his eyes at the thought of holding it for the first time with a win over the New England Patriots on Sunday night.“It’s been a long time coming,” Clark Hunt said. “Since Andy came here we’ve had a lot of shots, but we finally have a chance to win the AFC championship, and to do it at home is so special for us.”The Chiefs have never played an AFC title game at Arrowhead Stadium. They won at Buffalo to reach the first Super Bowl, and in Oakland on their way to their lone Super Bowl triumph in 1970.They lost their only other appearance in Buffalo in January 1994.Indeed, the opportunity to return to the NFL’s biggest stage for the first time in 49 years has been a long time coming. The Chiefs lost eight consecutive postseason games during one maddening stretch, and squandered the No. 1 seed along the way. They had great individual players — Tony Gonzalez, Priest Holmes, Joe Montana — yet never managed to hoist the AFC championship trophy.Former coach Dick Vermeil, who took the Eagles to the Super Bowl and won it with the Rams, said this week that “my biggest regret” was failing to deliver it during his five seasons in Kansas City.“It would be great. I mean , when your name is on it, that’s a pretty big thing,” said current Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who still remembers meeting Lamar Hunt during an ownership meeting years ago.Hunt died in December 2006 at the age of 74.“To have the opportunity to work with his kids and Clark in particular, I understand the importance of that,” Reid said. “Not that he has to tell me. He doesn’t have to say anything.”In fact, the Chiefs make sure everybody knows the importance.“One of the awesome things we do with our player development team is that they take us through the whole history,” Mahomes said. “We come over to the museum that we have in the stadium and they take us through how he made the AFL, pretty much from scratch, and had this vision for what is now the AFC and combined it with the NFL and made this beautiful league.“It truly is special for someone like that who has created your franchise,” Mahomes added. “You want to do whatever you can to bring honor to him and that family.”The Patriots are no strangers to hoisting the Lamar Hunt Trophy, of course. They are playing for it for the eighth consecutive season, and the coach-quarterback combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have succeeded in hoisting it eight times since their first real season together in 2001.But despite a perennial juggernaut standing in the way, there is a profound sense of confidence that surrounds the Chiefs these days, an unabashed optimism that can be felt all around town.Fountains are colored red — at least, those that haven’t frozen — and Chiefs banners hang off many of the city’s iconic buildings. Fans are streaming into Charlie Hustle, a local vintage clothing store, for their “Arrowhead Collection” of shirts. Those who aren’t making a buck off the Chiefs’ playoff ride are spending a buck to support them, or in many cases several hundred bucks.The stars are quite literally aligning: There is a “super blood wolf moon” due Sunday night, where the sun Ben Powers Jersey , Earth and moon line up and the moon is cast in a rusty (Chiefs-like) red tint.The fan fever is not unlike the way the city embraced the Royals when they made back-to-back World Series appearances. And when they won the 2015 championship, some 800,000 turned out for the parade.Imagine how many would show up if the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.“It means a lot just to make it to this point,” said Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, one of the team’s elder statesmen. I’ve never had this opportunity, so I think it will means a lot to me, to (the Hunt family) and to the city.”Yes, the Hunt family.Clark Hunt knows better than to plan for parades before games are won. The Chiefs have come up short many times, and the sting of those disappointments still lingers after all these years. Yet the franchise is also on the precipice of something great, a potential salve to make that pain go away.“It’s very special, obviously, for our entire family,” Hunt said. “It’s one of the goals that I always put out for the players at the beginning of the year. First thing we want to do is win that Lamar Hunt Trophy. Then we want to go to the Super Bowl and win that Lombardi Trophy.” ATLANTA (AP) — Once again, Ray Lewis and the Super Bowl intersect in Atlanta.Lewis isn’t ducking from the bad memories of his career low point in 2000, when he and a pair friends were charged for the stabbing deaths of two men outside a nightclub hours after the last Super Bowl played here.Now a Super Bowl champion, an NFL Hall of Famer and a broadcaster, Lewis has spent the last 19 years rebuilding his reputation after that night. The most serious charges against Lewis were dropped, and he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice.This Super Bowl, Lewis is back in Atlanta to promote hope and healing, using his celebrity spotlight to bring exposure to his Ray of Hope Foundation , which gets celebrities and athletes to send inspirational personal video messages for those in need.The goal of the big-ticket event, dubbed Gold Jacket Party for a Purpose, is to raise money for the foundation. The event is expected to attract dozens of sports and entertainment celebrities.“Purpose is forever,” Lewis told The Associated Press. “The game comes and goes but purpose is forever.”It seems a long way from 2000, when the prevailing image of Lewis was him in an Atlanta jail with handcuffs and shackles.Lewis, Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley were charged in double murders that happened after a party in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood following the St. Louis Rams’ win over the Tennessee Titans. The victims were stabbed to death and one victim’s blood was found in Lewis’ limo.Murder and aggravated assault charges against Lewis were dropped with his misdemeanor plea. He also agreed to testify against the other defendants, who were acquitted.Lewis received a year of probation by the court and was fined $250,000 by the NFL. He settled two lawsuits for undisclosed amounts with family members of the victims, Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Baker and Lollar are buried in Akron, Ohio — only a short drive from the Hall of Fame in Canton, where Lewis was honored last year.The killings, Lewis’ arrest and the ice storm that disrupted Super Bowl preparations nearly overshadowed the big game. The NFL didn’t agree to have another Super Bowl in Atlanta until the Falcons built a new $1.5 billion stadium.Lewis, 43, has moved on and believes others have as well. He frequently returns to the city. He says he organized another Atlanta Super Bowl party two years ago when the Falcons lost to the Patriots’ in Houston.“My sisters live in Atlanta,” Lewis said. “I’ve been in Atlanta for years, all over Atlanta.”Atlanta-based financial adviser Rob Vaka, who leads the Ray of Hope Foundation with Lewis and ESPN’s Sport Science host John Brenkus, said his wife had apprehensions about him working with Lewis until she researched the details of the case.“My wife is a native” of Atlanta, Vaka said. “She had her apprehensions. She did her own research. She’s the supreme skeptic. She did more research than me and she came back to me and said ‘What I heard is not accurate.'”Vaka added, “At some point you have to make a decision I’m going to move on and I’m going to forgive Trace McSorley Jersey , whether I have all of the facts or some of the facts. … I believe he’s a terrific human being.”Others also share that opinion.Among the former NFL greats expected to attend are Jim Brown, Deion Sanders, Ed Reed and Eddie George and many current players, including Grady Jackson and Austin Hooper of the Atlanta Falcons.Sanders said Lewis “is a wonderful, inspirational, caring, thoughtful individual which I Iove like a brother.”“I’m not going to go into the incident that happened, but Ray, but that’s not Ray,” Sanders told AP on Thursday. “That wasn’t Ray, and I know that for a fact, so I’m thankful. He worked his way out of it.”Lewis said purpose was the theme of his stirring speech at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony last August.The theme carries over to next week’s party, with tickets priced from $750 to $2,500, before the Feb. 3 Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots.The foundation’s roster of athletes, coaches and other celebrities provide short, uplifting personalized videos for those in dire need, including sick children.Among those who make the videos are former NFL players Takeo Spikes, Merril Hoge, Trent Dilfer and George Kyler Murray Jersey , golfer Dustin Johnson, Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and Olympians Michael Phelps, Summer Sanders and Apolo Ohno.“We built a really good roster and we’re looking at this event as a springboard to do some much bigger things,” Vaka said.Vaka said the foundation, only two years old, needs a new website, new technology and support but already has impacted dozens of lives. Lewis draws the most requests.“It’s a really simple thing, but it’s more important than you could ever imagine,” Lewis said. “Messages of hope connect people from all over the world that are experiencing some sort of pain. You take an influential role model to inspire them for a lasting impact.”Lewis said he realizes he has power away from the playing field.“That’s the glory of it, man,” he said. “That’s the excitement of where I’m starting to move in the second half of my life, figuring out my greatest ability is access because of my reputation, because of my name, because of my brand. I want to use it to bring people together, so I use it.”Lewis said he is consumed by his passion to instill hope in others. He relishes the joy he receives from making a positive impact.“You can make a lot of money,” he said. “You can be successful. You can be a lot of things. But when someone references you and they say to you, ‘You changed my life’ that’s a different conversation. Every time. Every time.“Oh my gosh, it’s just exciting, man.”
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