KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Sept. 7, 2005) -- Alced Surtain would not listen when his family urged him to flee New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Katrina.
But now that a helicopter has plucked him out of the floodwaters and possibly saved his life, his loved ones can all relax, including his son.
"He's been through a real tough ordeal that none of us could even imagine," said Kansas City cornerback Patrick Surtain. "He caught a bus to Houston."
Surtain, a two-time Pro Bowler in his first year with the Chiefs, admits he had trouble concentrating during the time his father was lost amid the violence and chaos of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.
"We told him to get out, but he wanted to ride it out. He was a little stubborn," Surtain said.
His mother and sister heeded authorities. They were in Kansas City with Patrick when Katrina hit, causing the city to flood and triggering an outbreak of lawlessness that shocked the nation.
The worried family finally got word Sept. 3 that Alced was safe.
"When he found out his dad was located, he came upstairs to my office, knocked on the door and came walking in (and said), 'Coach, they found my dad,'" said coach Dick Vermeil. "He was real excited, and relieved."
The way Surtain handled himself during the tense uncertainty was very impressive.
"But he was going about his business knowing there was nothing he could do, relying on the people down there doing the best they can," Vermeil said. "He's a pro in every way."
Alced Surtain was trying to work his way to safer ground when he was spotted by a helicopter. His home was destroyed
"It was tough. You've got to put things in perspective," Patrick Surtain said. "When it comes to things like that, football's secondary. To see all those people and what they were going through, I couldn't even imagine being in those peoples' shoes. It was real tough, seeing the city you grow up in, your whole life, not knowing if you'll ever be able to go back there. I'm just hoping the best for everybody."
Since his dad was rescued, he and Patrick have talked several times.
"He basically was, 'I'm sorry for not listening to you guys.' I told him he didn't have to apologize," Surtain said.
"I just thank God he's OK. He's looking forward to moving on with his life. We only talked briefly because he was so emotionally tired. He just needs some time to calm down from all that he's been through."