KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been nearly two years since De’Vante Bausby last practiced with his hometown team yet, despite changes for himself, Kansas City still feels familiar.
“It feels like I never left honestly,” Bausby said following Wednesday’s organized team activities (OTA). “I remember the playbook and everything. The same faces and how they embraced me, it was awesome.”
Bausby was the feel-good story for the Chiefs during their 2015 OTAs. The Bishop Hogan graduate came to the team as an undrafted free agent from Pittsburg State. The 6-foot-2 defensive back impressed immediately with his speed and athleticism.
Then disaster struck. Bausby sustained a broken collarbone on. The Chiefs released him after reaching an injury settlement.
“I felt like I was just reaching my peak,” Bausby said of the injury now. “I was getting better daily, then the injury happened. I’m back for round two and ready to get it right this time.”
Bausby spent six months on the mend and looking for an opportunity. The Chicago Bears came calling in December 2015, signing him to their practice squad and later adding him to their offseason roster.
He played four games for the Bears in 2016, getting his first taste of NFL action.
“It matured me,” Bausby said. “Experience is always good, whether it’s good experience or bad experience. Just having that experience is always good, so it definitely matured me and got me ready for the next step.”
Bausby credits Bears head coach John Fox, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive backs coach Ed Donatell for helping him progress as a player.
“They got me off the street and I started a couple of games for them,” Bausby said. “It turned out pretty good. They was real patient with me and took their time with me after practice, before practice to get me right.”
He said the playing time in Chicago helped him better understand the mental aspects of the game.
“Everything in the classroom, you’ve got to take that seriously,” Bausby said. “From schemes to route concepts, all that, you’ve got to take that seriously.”
Despite his successes in Chicago, the Bears waived the 24-year-old on May 1. Two days later he signed with the Chiefs.
The team lists 10 cornerbacks on their 90-man roster, but Bausby believes he has an opportunity to create a role for himself in Kansas City.
“The familiarity as far as special teams or playing cornerback, I know these coaches know me already and like me, so I couldn’t go any other place,” Bausby explained.
Coming home to Kansas City to a place where so many know his name is comforting, but Bausby draws motivation from what he feels is unfinished business.
“I want to show them when I was here in 2015 it wasn’t a fluke with me performing well,” Bausby said. “I want to follow up with that, build on that, show them I’m an NFL player.