Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid Quotes
January 4, 2023
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright, I’ll just start with (Bills S) Damar (Hamlin) – that’s quite an event that took place there. There are a lot of things that you take out of that from a humanity standpoint – we’re all pulling for Damar as he goes forward here. We actually had a team prayer for him yesterday with our team chaplain, so you have to (be) thinking that any bit of extra that we can get to support him we’re trying to do (that) from afar. But our prayers are also with his family as they go forward. With that, I can talk about our injuries here: Harrison Butker hurt his back – his back spasmed up today, so he didn’t practice. It’s getting better as we go here, but he did have some back spasms and we just pulled off (of) him. And then guys that were limited: Mecole (Hardman) went out and did some good work today – and we’re just going to see how he feels tomorrow; he’s day-by-day, he’s trying his heart out to get back in here. And L’Jarius Sneed went with the hip pointer. Skyy Moore with the hand came out and did just a few things – that hand’s still swollen and sore. Have I talked to you since? He split his hand – his hand’s split open there and had sutures put in, so he’s recovering from that. I don’t remember where we went with this. We did this (cancelled Tuesday’s media) out of respect for Damar and his situation. And then, Joe Thuney I mentioned hurt his ankle, he’s practiced the last two days. He’s doing good there. We look forward to the challenge of playing the Raiders. We just got done doing our two-minute work study, and one of the things you notice real quick is they’re in every game – not that you didn’t know that, but they’re in every game right till the end. There were plenty of two-minute plays at the end of games. So, they’ve got a good football team. Their young quarterback sure did a nice job the other day. And they’re well coached, so again, we look forward to that challenge. It’s Raiders, and it’s Chiefs. It doesn’t get any better than that, so we’re looking forward to going out there and playing them. Anyways with that, time’s yours.”
Q: Was there any thought that games might not be played this weekend? How did you guys navigate that?
REID: “Yeah so, you don’t know in a situation like this. And so, we just listened and kind of played it by ear with what the league has told us. And so, we go forward. We’ve practiced and we’re doing our thing. But in this case, you’re listening to whatever the league office gives you. And we trust their decision making. I thought they did a great job the other night and that’s not an easy thing. That’s a tough situation, and they took it in their hand to cancel or postpone a game. It’s a bold move for a great reason.”
Q: Were you watching it live when it happened?
REID: “Yeah, no, I saw it. Yeah, no, I saw it. Yeah, it was terrible. I felt just like everybody else did. It’s terrible. I’m just glad he’s making progress from what I’ve gathered like you have – we’re all listening. Sounds like he’s making progress, so that’s the most important thing. Right?”
Q: How do you balance the players’ mental health after what happened with also getting prepared to play a game on Saturday?
REID: “Yeah so, with Dr. T (Vice President of Player Services and Assessment Shaun Tyrance) and our crew here, we’ve addressed the issue right away. This is real, so we didn’t tiptoe around it, we addressed it with the team and talked to them. They know they have council there if they need it. The league’s got council for them if they need it. So that’s how we went about it.”
Q: When you say “addressed it” with the team, does that mean just as far as what happened to Damar Hamlin? Or with the players seeing themselves in his shoes?
REID: “Well yeah, they saw it like we did. So just to know that there’s help for them if they need to talk to somebody, that we’re available. Whether it’s religiously, psychologically, we’ve got all the tools plus the league has tools to help you through that. And coaches, we’re here the same way, so if a player were to need help or the coach needs help, it’s there for them, too.”
Q: Have you had the chance to talk with Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott?
REID: “Yeah, I texted him – both him and (Bills Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach) Leslie (Frazier) – but I’ve stayed away from that. They’ve got enough on their plate that they’re dealing with, and I know how they’re wired, they’re great people and I could imagine where their minds at now.”
Q: The Damar Hamlin situation is unprecedented. There’s no roadmap to how to navigate this, is there?
REID: “No. We’ve had people paralyzed, unfortunately, and guys have worked through that. But I think everybody’s kind of waiting for more information on this situation. But what they saw was obviously devastating. That was a tough deal. I would say – you guys were watching it, so you know that it’s that kick in the gut feeling.”
Q: With Harrison Butker’s back spasming up on him, do you feel like you need to bring another kicker into the mix?
REID: “Yeah, there’s a chance. There’s a chance we do. He’s doing ok, but just from a security standpoint, there’s a chance we do that. We haven’t quite got that far, but there’s a chance we might have to do that. Now that’s nothing with Harrison – we have full trust in Harrison, so I don’t want to start that kind of stuff.”
Q: Are you going to put Mecole Hardman up on the active roster with his 21-day window closing today?
REID: “Yeah so, (General Manager) Brett’s (Veach) going to go through that and make sure they’ve got everything covered there. We’ll just see how that goes from here. I didn’t talk to him here before I came in to (here) about that.”
Q: Is the team going to do anything special for Damar Hamlin?
REID: “Yeah, we’ll just see how that goes. We haven’t done anything yet, no.”
Q: What does it say about the league as a family with everyone coming together to support Damar Hamlin?
REID: “Yeah, I think it’s phenomenal. That’s a great part about us as humans – we come to the rescue. We probably need more of that in a lot of different situations, but that one for sure was what kind of unity, love. It was great.”
Q: With not knowing what’s going to happen with seeding due to the Bengals-Bills game being postponed, how do you attack your game against the Raiders on Saturday?
REID: “Yeah so, we know with whatever scenario we’ve got to go play to try to win the football game. That’s what we have to do. It wouldn’t have mattered before, we would still have to do that, so that’s what we’re going to do. And the players have worked through practice and done a nice job with it up to this point.”
Q: You’ve been a head coach for a long time. When you saw what happened, what came to mind when seeing Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott and Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor come together to make a decision?
REID: “Yeah, I think it was great. It was the right decision. Absolutely the right decision. That game didn’t need to go on after that. I thought both of them together did a great job. Great leadership there. And with the league.”
Q: Has it been difficult to turn the page from what happened Monday night to getting right for Saturday’s game against the Raiders?
REID: “Well, what we’ve done is we’ve tried to put our focus in on taking care of when we’re doing the football part, taking care of the football part. And that’s where we’ve been at. I think it was difficult that night and the morning, but there are some positive reports that came out and we’re pulling that direction. We’re trying to take a positive outlook on it the best we can in this situation. And the fact that he, Damar, is making some improvements is great. (He’s) a strong kid. We’re pulling that he pulls all the way through it.”
Chiefs Player Quotes
January 4, 2023
QB PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: How has the injury of Damar Hamlin affected you?
MAHOMES: “I think it affects everyone in this league in a way where it really puts things in perspective. We go out there every week and I’m not going to say we take it for granted, but you go out there and you play a game that you love, and you just enjoy it. You don’t think about things like that happening and whenever things like this happen, I think it impacts everybody. I mean obviously my prayers are with Damar (Hamlin) and his family, the Buffalo Bills, the Bengals (and) everybody that was in attendance at the game. It sent chills down my body when I was watching it and all I did was just sit there and pray for him because that’s all you can do when you feel like you can’t help. Like I said, I’ve been watching updates just like everybody and try to make sure that first off Damar is healthy, and he can get back because at the end of the day, we’re people, not just players, and I think everybody understands that even more now.”
Q: Do you look at this game differently now? What else was going through your mind?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I mean it’s just – at the end of the day, it’s a game. I think that’s – we get lost in that sometimes because we have so much riding on it, and we’re trying to win championships and do all this different type of stuff but it’s a game and there’s people playing it and I think you just continue to look at that. I think the players, we have a good understanding of that or hopefully you do but I think you get caught up through a season of just how can I get myself better to win a game instead of just taking in every single day instead of just taking it for what it is and it’s not promised. It puts stuff in perspective for you, but you still come to the building and you just have a greater respect for the game and a greater respect for the people around you because they’re giving everything they have every time.”
Q: Head Coach Andy Reid said that you had a team prayer with the team chaplain yesterday. How has the team come together and mentally prepared to not only play on Saturday but also to try to digest what you saw and move forward?
MAHOMES: “Yeah especially yesterday was hard. When you come back from watching that moment, I was saying I was up all night because you’re just on your phone. I’m like on Twitter just hitting ‘latest’ to see if I can see any more updates, to see if I can get any updates on it, he’s in any better condition than the last time you had seen them. But you get in the building, you get around your teammates and you just, you tell them how much you appreciate them because you don’t do that enough and as you kind of get through this week you still have that in the back of your head. I mean I’m at practice, and it’s like the first thing I do when I get back in building is you go look for updates or you ask (Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance) Rick (Burkholder) or you ask (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid and you try to do your job but at the same time you want to make sure that you can have that in the back of your mind because that’s what’s most important.”
Q: Do you think you guys should play Saturday?
MAHOMES: “It’s hard for me to say. It’s not something that I can control it either way. All I can do is come in here and give it everything I have in the building and then when I go home just appreciate my family. I know there’s a job to do, and you have to go in there and do it. But at the end of the day, you just want to make sure, like I say you want to make sure he’s alright because that’s what’s most important and like I said it’s a game. It’s a game that we all love and that we all put everything that we have into but it’s a game at the end of the day.”
Q: How do you flip that switch to focus on football? Does it help to have practice to focus on? Is it a welcomed distraction?
MAHOMES: “Yeah it can be a little bit of a distraction just because when you’re playing you’re focused on the play and everything like that but like you said when you get to the sidelines or when you’re in between plays at practice I mean that’s still there’s a little bit and so all you can do is hope and pray that you get good updates every single time one comes out and that whenever he’s healthy, we can move forward and continue to play this game that we all love.”
Q: You’re pretty close to Bills QB Josh Allen and close to Bills C Mitch Morse too. Have you been in touch with them or anyone else?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I just texted them and said I was praying for them and their team. Obviously, it impacts us, but when there’s guys that you work with every single day, you’re brothers. I mean people say it, but you are brothers. You see these people, more than sometimes than your family and so you build this brotherhood and I just wanted to let them know I’m doing whatever I can from far away to pray for them and just be with them. Luckily, they have great leaders over there, and I’m sure they’ve grown even closer from this and they’re going to continue to do whatever they can to help Damar and his family.”
Q: How different will it be taking the field this weekend?
MAHOMES: “It’s hard to say. We’re going to be the first game back and so it’s hard to say. I mean you know there’s a job that you have to do. You put all this work in for months to try to go out there and play your best football but when you get on that field I’m sure it’ll be a little bit of a weird feeling because it was such a scary incident that was terrifying that I think everybody saw and so we’ll see when we get out there but I know our guys will just get out there and hopefully when we get to playing the game again it can be fun and everybody can enjoy it like we have our whole lives.”
Q: Obviously injuries are part of the game and every time you take the field you recognize that, but do you really think when you’re on the field that something like this can happen to you?
MAHOMES: “I mean people say it and you’ve seen injuries happen that have been major injuries and stuff like that, but I’ve never seen something where someone had been getting CPR and stuff like that on the field. I don’t know if any of us have seen it. It hadn’t happened in such a long time, and you don’t think about that stuff when you’re stepping on the field. You’re thinking about how can I win the game, how can I do this and this. And like I said, it puts it into perspective that when you go out on that field that anything can happen. So, you’ve got to take this game for what it is. You’ve got to enjoy it, have fun, leave everything you have out there, but yet at the same time, it’s just a game. When we say that we have to know that we’re going out there and we are putting our lives on the line, and I think we forget that because we’ve done it so many times and nothing has happened.”
WR MARQUEZ VALDES-SCANTLING
Q: How does what you saw Monday night with Bills S Damar Hamlin affect you?
VALDES-SCANTLING: “Obviously, we all play this game and we put our lives on the line and to see one of our football brothers – in this fraternity of football – go down like that and (almost) lose his life, it’s hard. We put our lives on the line every single play and a lot of people take that for granted. It’s tough to see (and) it’s tough to sleep at night because that could’ve been any one of us. It could’ve been myself (or) any one of those guys in the locker room and I think every football player around the country felt that.”
Q: Do you want to play on Saturday against the Las Vegas Raiders?
VALDES-SCANTLING: “Yeah, obviously this is a game that I love, and I never take those games for granted. I pray before I walk on the field every single Sunday – or Saturday in this case – just for my health, my teammates health and everybody who plays this game’s health. It’s still a dream of mine that I still take very serious and obviously health is the first thing that we all think about when we step on the field but when you get out there and you start to put those fears and doubts, that’s when more injuries happen. So, we try to take those worries and fears and anxieties out, but at the end of the day, our health is the most important thing.”
Q: Being a pass catcher is dangerous. How is it important that you find a way to stay locked in the game on Saturday?
VALDES-SCANTLING: “You just play the game how you’ve always played it. That was a routine play that no one would’ve expected that to be the outcome of it. We thought it was a normal play that we’ve seen a million times. So you can’t go in there with fears that it can happen to you because it can happen to you on a routine play or a big hit, so it’s a part of the game but obviously we don’t want to see anyone in that position ever again.”
S JUAN THORNHILL
Q: How does what happened to Bills S Damar Hamlin affect you?
THORNHILL: “It’s really scary. Seeing things like that happen on the football field, knowing that we play the same exact sport as him – I mean it’s a contact sport. It’s scary because it can affect us. It can be us that’s in this same exact situation, so all I can do right now is just pray for Damar (Hamlin) and hope that he gets better and hope that it doesn’t happen any more this season.”
Q: How important is it to check on each other?
THORNHILL: “It’s huge. Mental health is everything, obviously. You have to always check up on your brothers because it can be a struggle. It can affect someone else differently than others so just constantly checking up on them and seeing how things are going (and) just making sure that their mind is in the right place. And bring your brother along if they’re not in the right place and just let them know that you’re there for them.”
Q: What are you looking at when it comes to Raiders QB Jarrett Stidham?
THORNHILL: “I mean, he’s a really good quarterback. We see him as a gunslinger. The guy (Raiders QB Jarrett Stidham), he’s super confident – you would think that since he’s a backup he’d come in and be a little shaky, but I watched the game last week and he stepped up and played a heck of a game. I think he played one of the best games they have had all season. I think he can control it (and) he can move the ball, and we just have to focus in and show up to play because the Raiders are a good team.”