Kansas City Chiefs center Creed Humphrey practices with the team on Dec. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of chiefs.com)

by Paige Willett

Creed Humphrey is a Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member and center for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. At only 23 years old, the Peltier family descendant played his second season of professional football in 2022-23, ending with his first Super Bowl appearance on Feb. 12, 2023. Prior to the NFL, he gained notoriety at both Shawnee High School near CPN headquarters in central Oklahoma and at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

You are known as one of the best centers in the league for your focus and your pass protection. What really keeps you going during a game? How do you get that focus that you’re known for?

For me, it’s just taking everything play by play. Making sure I’m executing my assignment and really just focusing on the detail throughout everything. So really for me, it’s making sure I do my job every play.

What’s it like representing CPN as a professional athlete?

It’s great. There’s not a ton of representation with Native Americans throughout sports. So being able to do that and kind of just be a person for younger kids to look up to, it’s really great to do. And I’m very happy to be able to do that.

What’s it like seeing kids either wear your jersey or the “Creed Is Good” t-shirts?

It’s definitely awesome just being able to be someone that they can look up to. I really enjoy that. And I make sure to make that a big part of my job as well, making sure I’m representing myself well and making sure I’m just being a good person to look up to for the younger generation.

Who do you look up to in the NFL, and is there anyone that you especially watched and paid attention to as a kid?

As soon as I started playing center, I started watching film on different people just to learn technique and everything like that. For me, I really enjoyed watching Nick Mangold with the New York Jets, Travis Frederick with the Dallas Cowboys and Maurkice Pouncey with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Those guys were at the top of their games during their time. It was really fun to watch them and just kind of see how they play the game.

What do you enjoy most about game day?

Really the interaction with the fans. Things like that. Just the atmosphere they bring. It’s really cool to see that many people get behind a team and root for them. Whether we’re doing good or whether we’re doing bad, they’re always behind us.

What’s it been like adjusting to more of a national spotlight and adjusting to playing professional football? What are some of the differences?

In professional football, really your whole focus is on football. Now that I’m out of school and everything, graduated, I’m not worried about classes, studying, things like that. I can put all my focus on football. I really enjoy being able to do that. And I feel like it’s, in a way, less stressful because you can have all your focus on making sure you’re playing the way you want to play. So, I really enjoy that. And also, the national spotlight, being a professional athlete, there’s a lot of people looking up to you and seeing what you’re doing. So just making sure I’m doing the right things and representing myself in the way I should be. That’s a big thing for me to do, too.

With your hometown right around CPN headquarters, do you ever miss Shawnee?

Yeah, I do. All my family still lives in Shawnee, so during the off-season, it’s really good to be able to go down and see them and catch up with everybody around there. I’ve still got a bunch of friends that still live in Shawnee, things like that. I definitely try to make time during the off-season where I’m in Shawnee for a while.

What was it like covering for Patrick Mahomes on your first game in the NFL?

It’s definitely a big responsibility, protecting the best quarterback in the league. But it’s awesome. He makes our job so easy, and just seeing him make the plays that he makes is really cool. And it’s really a blessing to be able to see that happen in real life.

What makes you proud to be Potawatomi?

What makes me proud is just representing my family. My family lives in Shawnee. They live in that area. I’ve been around them my whole life, and I’ve been representing the Tribe my whole life. It’s definitely for me, representing my family well, things like that. And again, having this opportunity to where there’s not a ton of Native American athletes in professional sports being able to do that and have different kids within CPN be able to look up to me, I think is a really cool thing.

There was a Chiefs game recently in November where you and a team member were highlighted for Native American Heritage Month. What was that like?

It was a really cool opportunity. Me and (long snapper) James Winchester. He’s a member of the Choctaw Nation. Just us being able to shine a light on that, and like I said, being able to give kids a person to look up to and see that they can make it to the same spot that we did. We really enjoyed being able to do that.

What kind of goals do you have personally or as part of the team in the coming years?

Football is a team sport, so focusing on the team goals is always my first priority. And we definitely want to win a Super Bowl around here. I’m doing everything I can to make sure I’m being a part of that and doing my job for that. If you focus on the team goals, the personal goals will usually pan out. So just for me, it’s focusing on making sure we win, making sure we win the AFC West, we win the AFC, and we win the Super Bowl. That’s the biggest thing for me.

Do you like football because it’s a team sport?

Definitely. Growing up in Oklahoma, I was a big OU fan. I’ve been around football my entire life. I’ve always enjoyed watching football. When I got the chance to start playing, it was kind of my first love. So being able to just do that my entire life has been really awesome.

How long have you been playing football?

I think I started playing flag football when I was 5, maybe 4. It’s been most of my life.

You’ve brought in a lot of fans who are Potawatomi tribal members. Do you have a message for those who are rooting for you?

Thank you for being behind me. And it’s really awesome to be able to represent Shawnee, be able to represent CPN, and I’m very glad I get to do that. And it’s just been a dream come true so far. I’ve just been enjoying the ride.