SAINT JOSEPH, Mo. — One could argue that Tershawn Wharton is the Kansas City Chiefs player who is most excited to hit the field for a game.
The defensive tackle tore his ACL against the Las Vegas Raiders last season and got his first taste of football action Wednesday when he returned to practice in full pads only participating in individual drills.
When Wharton stepped on the field, the joy could be seen from his teammates to see the Missouri S&T alum back on the field.
“I think it took a moment to just take it all in because I’ve been watching for so long, and I never had a serious injury,” Wharton said on Thursday. “Just seeing those guys, their reaction to it just show that there’s a family here and that I got love on the team.”
His teammates were encouraging him all season as well on their way to the Super Bowl.
“Seeing the guys come in and see me on the training table, they encouraged me to always keep my head up,” Wharton said. “And then I like to attack everything like a pro, so attacking it, just seeing my strides when, you know, as the months come along, and being able to do things that I wasn’t able to do, it always made me continue to keep my head up and smile through the process.”
Before Wharton suffered his injury, he was taking the second-highest snaps at defensive tackle after Chris Jones. While Jones is not at training camp due to his contract dispute, he’s expected to be back at some point before the season.
Without Wharton, the Chiefs have Derrick Nnadi (who returned on a one-year deal), Daniel Wise, Matt Dickerson, Danny Shelton and rookie Keondre Coburn as a few of their depth pieces.
None of these players bring the explosiveness and pass-rushing prowess that Wharton has in his game.
Although he is back on the field, it will take some time before Wharton is fully ready to participate in defensive snaps in practice. But he’s already made clear that he’s tired of watching.
“I’m ready,” the St. Louis native said with full confidence. “I’ve been watching, and when I get out there, you know, I’m just ready.”
“For now, I’m taking it with stride what they’re telling me to do, but I’m ready.”