Fred Arbanas retiring: Former Chiefs star leaving after decades on county legislature

arbanas-goodbyeJackson County officials, employees and former Chiefs players today honored county legislator Fred Arbanas, who is retiring after 42 years.

Before his work there, he was a Chiefs tight end who helped win three AFL championships and Super Bowl IV.

His retirement event on the steps of the downtown courthouse featured a crowd of people wearing red, many in his number 84 jersey.

Mascot KC Wolf was there along with cheerleaders and former stars like Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders recapped some of the Arbanas football stats: Played in 118 games, caught 98 passes for 34 touchdowns and did much of it after he lost his sight in one eye.

Arbanas, 75, spoke more of his time on the legislature and its accomplishments.

“I’m so proud of Jackson County,” he said.

When he started in 1973, he said, county employees did not have health insurance or pensions.

The small jail was in the upper floors of the courthouse – “what a mess that was.”

Things like that are unbelievable now, he said. “The county, I’ve seen it come so far in 42 years.”

While he kept his comments brief, he speaks more at the website

Just as a botched knee repair forced him to retire from the Chiefs in 1970, the lingering effects of 17 surgeries, including multiple joint replacements, are prompting him to retire from the legislature, he said. “If I could do it over again, I would have studied harder in high school and become an orthopedic surgeon.”

At the same time, he is grateful to have “no head issues” like concussion damage that has afflicted other football players, he said. “I’ve been fortunate.”

When he played football with great Chiefs teams, he said players and coaches had a combined payroll of $1 million and players had outside jobs so when he could no longer play he quickly just moved on.

On the legislature, he led efforts to expand park amenities, including suggesting that an hay field become a golf course. He joined county employees to help bale the hay and the golf course is now named after him.

He and his wife Sharon have been married 54 years, raised four children and now have eight grandchildren.

At the event today, Dawson praised his old teammate and friend.

Besides catching passes with one eye, he was a great blocker and an intense individual, Dawson said.

But beyond the crushing hits he took and inflicted on 300-pound men, his political career proved his mettle, Dawson said.

“He’s been in this business for 42 years – that shows you how tough he is.”


One Comment

  1. chris says:

    Nice going Freddie! Well done! chris burford (old friend)

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