Kansas City quarterback Matt Moore can relate to Baltimore defensive tackle Domata Peko.
They both began this football season as high school assistant coaches and wound up as key members of two of the NFL’s best teams.
Moore was coaching at Hart High, his alma mater, when Kansas City coach Andy Reid called in August and asked him to join the team. The Chiefs had lost backup Chad Henne, who suffered a fractured ankle in an exhibition game.
“To be honest, it really wasn’t in my mind as far as me going and playing again,” said Moore, 35, who played at UCLA and Oregon State then 12 seasons in the NFL with Dallas, Carolina, and Miami. “I kind of thought that ship had sailed. So I wasn’t doing much other than coaching ball.
“When it came along, I knew it was going to be a challenge. But I was able to make the transition pretty quick and move forward.”
Both Moore and Peko, who was coaching at Calabasas High earlier this season, attended College of the Canyons in Valencia. Peko went on to earn a scholarship at Michigan State. Moore spent a year there between UCLA and Oregon State but did not play football.
When star quarterback Patrick Mahomes sustained a knee injury, Moore stepped in and made two starts, throwing three touchdown passes with no interceptions. The Chiefs lost to Green Bay and beat Minnesota, with Moore posting impressive passer ratings of 107.1 and 103.9.
“It’s been crazy,” he said of his season. “Obviously, I’m the one who made the decision. I felt good about it. I was having fun with what I was doing, coaching at Hart. But when an opportunity like this comes along, it was hard not to attempt to do it. It’s been great thus far.”