Back before he knew how any of this would turn out, John Dorsey made a simple statement that explains so much about how the Chiefs would escape their darkest hour.

This was seven months ago, a lifetime in NFL terms. Before 9-0. Before all the sacks and touchdowns from the defense. Before the season started. Before the draft. Before Dorsey had even found a house in Kansas City.

This was early April, when Dorsey was just the new general manager of a once-proud franchise. Dorsey had no results here, nothing tangible, just ideas and energy and strong handshakes and a plan about how to transform the Chiefs into something Kansas City would be proud of again.

He would do it, largely, with those already in the building.

“There are good people here,” he said then. “We’re going to need them.”

Nine wins in, the football world is trying to make sense of what is already one of the biggest turnarounds in recent NFL history. Andy Reid might win coach of the year. Alex Smith is a critical upgrade at quarterback. Bob Sutton has worked wonders with the defense.

All the while, the rebirth is being done with the same nucleus of players and many behind the scenes who were around for a miserable 29-67 run over the last six seasons.

The Chiefs’ resurgence, in other words, is being driven by many who were around for the fall — including those brought in by two previous and very different general managers who were pushed out.

Derrick Johnson and Dustin Colquitt have been here the longest. They came in the 2005 NFL Draft, Dick Vermeil’s last year as coach and Trent Green’s last year as quarterback. Johnson and Colquitt have been here together for five coaches, three general managers, two playoff appearances and two 2-14 seasons.

“We know where we’ve come from,” Johnson said recently. “So it’s easy to keep working hard now.”

Johnson’s first defensive coordinator was Gunther Cunningham. He and Colquitt played with a young Tony Gonzalez, an aging Priest Holmes, and an emerging Larry Johnson in 2005. Jared Allen was coming off his rookie year. Boomer Grigsby was a local curiosity.

Tamba Hali would be drafted the next year. Then Dwayne Bowe a year later, and that’s when Carl Peterson and player personnel director Bill Kuharich gave the present-day Chiefs their present-day foundation.

They traded Allen for picks and hit the mother lode in the 2008 draft: Branden Albert, Brandon Flowers, Jamaal Charles and Brandon Carr, among others. The Chiefs transitioned from one of the league’s oldest teams to one of the youngest.

Peterson and Kuharich would be fired in 2009. Even all these years later, players they drafted are accounting for half of this year’s yards on offense, and the top two tacklers and second-leading sacker on defense. Seven key players, with eight Pro Bowls between them.

Scott Pioli replaced Peterson and Kuharich in 2009. The four seasons that followed have become a bit like a death in the family for Chiefs fans — solemnly acknowledged, reluctantly discussed in detail — but the pain was not without gain.