Steven Nelson in front of his locker, staring at his phone. He draped a towel over his shoulder and waved off interviews.

This was Dec. 3, just moments after the Chiefs’ 38-31 loss to the New York Jets, and Nelson –– the Chiefs’ starting nickel corner –– had just finished a rough outing.

He’d been targeted eight times, and the Jets had connected on six of those for 143 yards. He was also whistled for two penalties, one of which extended the Jets’ game-winning scoring drive and another that gave them another crack at a two-point conversion (which was successful).

For a competitor like Nelson, a man who loves football more than most, it was incredibly tough to stomach.

“I just feel like it’s opened so many doors for me, on and off the field,” Nelson said of football. “I just love the game.”

Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, who has coached Nelson for three years now, knows that football matters to Nelson, which is why Sutton wasn’t surprised by the third-year corner’s impressive bounce-back performance in the Chiefs’ next game, a 26-15 win over the Oakland Raiders.