Read quotes from Clark Hunt, Andy Reid and Justin Reid on July 23.
OPENING STATEMENT: “Good morning. We are excited to be back at Missouri Western State University to kick off the 2023 campaign. The university and staff do a fantastic job of welcoming us up here, as well as taking care of all of our needs. It’s great to get to see the first full team practice today. We’re excited about the upcoming season. With that, I’ll open it up for questions.”
Q: What has your communication been like with DT Chris Jones?
HUNT: “That’s something that (General Manager) Brett Veach and his staff really handle; I’m not involved in that.”
Q: What’s your optimism like that he’ll come to camp?
HUNT: “Look, we love Chris Jones and when he decides to report, we’ll welcome him. I don’t want to get into speculating on when that’ll happen, or if it’ll happen.”
Q: All of your options about the stadium are still on the table. What is your preference?
HUNT: “We do feel optimistic about that. We spent a couple years studying the structural integrity of the stadium and earlier this year, we preliminarily concluded that GEHA Field at Arrowhead could be renovated and extend the life up to another 25 years. All three options are still on the table, but we’re working hard behind the scenes to try to get into a position where if the Royals make a decision later this summer – as they said they’re going to do – we’ll be in the position to go with them if they decide to go with a public vote.”
Q: Would there be a benefit to building a dome stadium?
HUNT: “Certainly a benefit of a dome stadium is that you are weather protected which does gives you the ability to host more events. You know we’ve seen that, whether it’s SoFi (Stadium) or AT&T Stadium, they host a lot of events. I would point out that GEHA Field at Arrowhead is hosting a lot of events this summer, and we’re expecting to have a very busy summer next year. So not having a roof doesn’t preclude having many of those events, but certainly if you have a roof, you possibly could do more during the winter.”
Q: We’ve seen a lot of teams in the league go to alternate uniforms but you guys take the traditional approach. What is the thought process on that?
HUNT: “Yeah, it was something my dad felt very strongly about. Going all the way back to the early ‘60s. He wanted a lot of continuity in the uniforms, and we’ve tried to maintain that over the years. I think we have a very distinct brand, with the red and white, and don’t anticipate steering away from that anytime soon.”
Q: We heard from Andy Reid on how he likes to be up here and get the team away from everybody in Kansas City and build camaraderie. What are your thoughts on the team being here?
HUNT: “Yeah, well I mentioned in my opening remarks how excited we are to be up here. It’s been a fantastic relationship with the university. Like Andy, I’m a big believer in the value of getting the organization away from Kansas City. The great thing about being here in St. Joe is we’re so close, so as you can hear the fans today, we’ve got a tremendous number of fans here today and we’ll have that throughout camp, so they can drive up. But you have the team away and it really creates an opportunity, I think, for the players to bond with each other, a chance for the new players to really get integrated into the organization. So, I think there are a lot of positives with it.”
Q: Do you personally still get excited about this time of the year?
HUNT: “Yeah, absolutely. One of the highlights of the year for me is getting to address the team at the opening meeting, which was last night. As I did that and looked out, I felt a lot of excitement. You know, it’s great to be back. There’s always a bunch of new players, so it’s a new team every year. We’re obviously defending a championship this year. It’s a great opportunity, something that hasn’t been done in the National Football League for almost 20 years, so I’m every bit as excited as the players and coaches to be here.”
Q: Was that your message to the team? If not, what was your message to the team?
HUNT: “That was part of the message to the team. You know, we have a tremendous opportunity this year to defend the championship, which is a hard thing to do. We had a chance three years ago and didn’t get it done and hopefully we’ll be able to do it this year.”
Q: After winning Super Bowl LIV, the pandemic made having training camp with fans impossible. How meaningful is it to share this championship with fans here in St. Joseph?
HUNT: “It’s so exciting and I think it’s something that really benefits the team, particularly the players. Having the fans out here adds a level of energy to the practices that you don’t get. It’s a very different environment, just thinking about the OTAs, not having the fans there versus having the fans today. I think we are expecting maybe record crowds this year. Certainly, with good justification coming off the Super Bowl win. So, it’s great to be here and great to be able to share this with our amazing fan base.”
Q: No one on the team right now is currently the highest paid player at their position. When you go into contract extension discussions, what is the approach?
HUNT: “We really don’t think about it in the context of who is the highest paid player in the league, we think about in context with the Kansas City Chiefs and what’s best for the organization not only this year, but as we go forward. One of the challenges in the National Football League is the salary cap. It makes it tough to keep a championship team together. That’s something that Brett Veach and his staff have focused on. I think they’ve done a fantastic job and yeah, that’s just how we’re going to do it going forward.”
Q: You mentioned that you always address the team. How has your message changed from this year compared to about eight years ago?
HUNT: “Well, seven or eight years ago, we spent a whole lot more time talking about the ‘60s and ‘70s than I do now. I still include the history of the organization because I think it’s important for the young players to understand where the team came from in the early 1960s as a charter member of the American Football League. But certainly, it’s great to talk about the success that we’ve had over the last four or five years. Also, the success we’ve had over the last 10 years with Andy. One of the points I always make to them is how blessed they are to have a Hall of Fame coach and really one of the best coaching staffs in the National Football League. And if they follow the lead of the coaches, good things are going to happen.”
Q: Before camp, Andy said he was considering retirement. How did you take that in terms of his seriousness?
HUNT: “That’s never come up in my conversations with Andy. I think, as I recall his answer, somebody asked him the question and I don’t think he stopped to think about that subject and it has sort of had a life of its own there for a few weeks until Andy said, ‘No, I’m not thinking about that.’ As I see Andy, he remains incredibly energized and excited. He’s all about the Kansas City Chiefs and trying to get us back to the playoffs and win another Super Bowl. I think he has as much energy and passion as I’ve seen in the past 10-plus years that he’s been with us.”
Q: Do you have any feeling that Andy is going to retire soon?
HUNT: “I really don’t, and I hope I don’t for a long time.”
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid Quotes
July 23, 2023
OPENING STATEMENT: “Alright good to see everybody. As far as the injuries go, Wanya Morris, he has a hamstring strain. He did that in the rookie camp. Not too bad, so he’ll be back here pretty quick and then (Tershawn) Wharton is still coming back rehabbing that knee and he’s on PUP. So, and then Kadarius (Toney) tweaked his knee on the punt return out here pre-practice (during) punt return. So, we’ll just see how he does as we go forward. Let me address – it was great to get everybody back here and working. You saw how they competed out here, offense had some good snaps, defense had some good snaps, and it went back and forth. (They had) a great energy. For this type of a camp without pads on, that’s a great thing. It’s also great to get the new guys, let them feel the energy that’s here with our fans and you know the up-tempo from the OTA’s that you get in camp. The competition, so I appreciate that. And then as far as Chris (Jones) goes we’ll just see how things go here down the road. There has been communication. We’ll see where it goes from here and you know we’ll take it. If you’re not here, we just keep moving, and that’s how we roll. We don’t worry a lot about that. Let it take care of itself, and we’ve got great people working on that so I’m not worried about that. Alright, with that, time’s yours.”
Q: In terms of Chris Jones not being here, do you anticipate he could arrive before any sort of contract is signed?
REID: “Yeah, I don’t know that. I don’t have an answer for you on that.”
Q: How do the guys look in general, are they in shape, are they excited, what’s their mood?
REID: “Yeah so, we do a little conditioning test. We did that yesterday, and they breezed right through that thing, they did a nice job with it. I was proud of them for that. I would say it’s one of the better groups that have done that. I thought they handled that very well. Now it’s about getting into football shape. It’s one thing to be able to do that, it’s another thing to be able to do the football part. But you know what, they moved around pretty good today, it’s not the coolest day we’ve had since we’ve been up here. So, it’s going to continue, the heat will continue to increase as we go.”
Q: On Justyn Ross and Richie James, what did you see from them today in practice?
REID: “Yeah, the young guys, the younger receivers you’re saying, so I liked what I saw there, caught the ball well, the retention, (we) put a lot of stuff in the OTA’s. So, their retention of the stuff that we put in here now yesterday. I thought they handled it very well.”
Q: What about Rashee Rice what kind of leap has he had since the last time we talked to you?
REID: “Yeah, so I think he’s done a nice job. He’s smooth and strong, catches the ball well, good route runner, smart kid. So far, I like it, we just got to keep going. The workload gets heavy everyday, a little heavier every day. We’ll just see how he retains that and then the physical part of it. Just see how he works his way through that.”
Q: On Richie James in the offseason
REID: “Yeah, Richie (James) did a nice job, he’s familiar with the offense because he had (Giants Offensive Coordinator) Mike Kafka, so he didn’t have to go though and learn everything here maybe just a few new things and I like what I’ve seen from him. He’s a good football player, has a great feel for things.”
Q: You’re talking about getting into football shape, Rashee Rice earlier this week, we got to see what he had for breakfast, how long does it take for those guys to make that transition?
REID: “Yeah, some guys have a quick trigger there. I mean he could run all day. He was like first on our conditioning deal. Whatever it is that gets that going, but he jumps back in, he just goes. So, some guys have that, I’ve been around guys that have a loose trigger down there I guess, you’d say. He does a good job with it.”
Q: How’s Lucas Niang? How’s his knee doing?
REID: “Yeah, he’s doing a good job. Real good job, so (I) like what we’re seeing there.”
Q: This is the first time in Chris Jones’s career that he didn’t report to camp on time, were you a bit surprised by that decision given his track record?
REID: “Yeah, I’ll probably tell you that, yeah. I was a bit surprised.”
Q: With Isiah Pacheco in a non-contact jersey right now, how do you feel that he’s progressing, and do you have a timetable for when he’s going to be back?
REID: “Yeah, we’ll try and keep communication between him and (Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance) Rick (Burkholder) and our docs. And we’ll just see where he’s at as he goes. You got to kind of watch it because he has that personality where he’s 100 mph on every play. That’s why we put the yellow jersey on him, so he doesn’t do anything crazy to himself. But he wants to stay in football shape especially for that position, that running back position, that’s a son of a gun man. So, you want to keep yourself as close to being ready as you can without reinjuring that thing.”
Q: Speaking of the running back room, with Isiah Pacheco being out, how do you see the rest of the running back rotation looking this year?
REID: “Yeah, we’ve got them all going. They’re all rotating in, all going to get reps, with the ones, twos, and threes. So, you saw that today, and it’s just a matter of getting the reps going. You want to continue on with that, make sure they get the looks.”
Q: What has your communication with Chris Jones been?
REID: “Yeah, it’s been good up to just a bit ago. So, they’re doing their thing, we’re doing our thing and we’ll just see where it goes from there.”
Q: Your love for the camp atmosphere is well-documented. How much of that is from the old school opportunity to drive the team forward and how much is from the team building?
REID: “Yeah, I mean I think hard work can help build unity because you help each other out and maybe (not) your best day is my best day and so I’m going to jump in and help you get through that day that’s not so good, and I think just naturally you have a camaraderie that takes place there.”
Q: Is it something different altogether to go away? As opposed to being down in Kansas City?
REID: “Yeah, you’re up here, you get to room with somebody, you get to eat with them, meet with them. This thing takes a lot of time when you’re up at camp. You’re always busy doing something. And you’re doing it with your teammates.”
Q: It seems like Nick Bolton has performed well ever since he stepped foot in a Chiefs uniform. Today he looked a step quicker than he has the past couple years, do you think this is his year to fully take over this defense?
REID: “Yeah, in his own quiet way he’s already done that. That last year, it was fun to watch that. He just jumped in, he’s a transmitter there, he’s got to get the secondary right, the front right, the linebackers right, he does that easy. It’s a tribute to the University of Missouri, man.”
Q: Is there such a thing as a championship tone or a tone you set for camp that starts how things are going to progress?
REID: “Yeah sure, you understand that expectations are high. And we’ve got leadership here that really understands that, and they’ve been there, they’ve done that, they enjoy being in that spot. But they understand the work level that it takes to stay there, and you need that from your leaders. We’re fortunate to have that.”
Chiefs Player Quotes
July 23, 2023
S JUSTIN REID
Q: What have you seen from the young defensive backs so far?
REID: “I’m going to start with the second-year players, start with my partner in crime Bryan Cook. I mean (the) guy is a baller, very cerebral player, probably the loudest communicator on the defense out of the DBs. You love to have that – a vocal guy that’s confident in the back end. All the young guys – Trent McDuffie, Jaylen (Watson), J-Will (Joshua Williams), Nazeeh Johnson all (are) doing an amazing job. The young guys coming in Isaiah (Norman), Ekow (Boye-Doe). These guys they have their ears wide open, they’re humble, they’re willing to learn. (Chiefs Defensive Coordinator) Spags’ (Steve Spagnuolo) system is not easy but they’re willing to put in the work and we have good veterans in the room willing to lead them along and teach them.”
Q: What does a guy like Mike Edwards who has been around bring to the group?
REID: “Again, veteran experience, a guy who’s willing to learn. This playbook isn’t easy, but he’s (Mike Edwards) run a lot of similar concepts in his career already. (The) guy has great ball skills. Following along that lead – L’Jarius Sneed, man, going to have to bring the Brinks trucks out for him too eventually because he’s a hell of a player. You could put him on any number one (receiver) throughout the league, you know he holds it on.”
Q: On how the fans at camp affect the team.
REID: “Oh we love having them there. Chiefs’ kingdom is international, it’s hearing them cheer, they bring energy to guys on the field. They make this a lot of fun. Otherwise, Andy Reid’s camps are no joke and they make it a lot more bearable to come out here and see them cheer and smile and hoorah. It makes it a lot more fun.”
Q: Does it help to have training camp up here isolated a little bit in St. Joe?
REID: “It helps. I think this is where the chemistry comes in. I mean one of the things that makes the Chiefs so fun to watch is you see the personalities and how the whole team gets along with each other, and training camp is a big part of that because we come here. It’s kind of like college. We’re in dormitories together, we hang out all day, you get to know your teammates, we have a lot of fun together. You build those relationships.”
LB NICK BOLTON
Q: What do you know about camp and how to get through it you didn’t know in years past?
BOLTON: “The first year you definitely come in and don’t know what to expect. Coming from high school and even college training camp is a little bit difficult but it’s not anything like this one. So (you) just got to understand it’s going to be hard. That’s kind of the biggest thing and you just got to get over it and come in every single day and try to put your best foot forward. You know the end goal is just trying to get back to a Super Bowl, get home field advantage and win the AFC West. And that’s just the goal we got in mind.”
Q: What is it that makes this camp so hard?
BOLTON: “It’s just the mental stress. Things get brought up on you pretty quick, especially playing the mike position you got a lot of responsibility, again that’s the quarterback as well. So, you’re just kind of adding on every single day trying to make sure everyone’s aligned just trying to make sure you check all the boxes off in your own head every snap. And it kind of can get mentally taxing. But again, it’s football, you love it, it’s what you got to do.”
Q: How much belief do you sense among the guys that you could reach your goal of finishing as a top 10 defense this year?
BOLTON: “I think it starts with the guys up front. I think we’ve got a lot of guys up front who can play Charles (Omenihu) coming in, Felix (Anudike-Uzomah) coming in, George (Karlaftis) coming into his second year, obviously Chris (Jones) and we’ve got a lot of guys on the d-line. (The) secondary is older (than) me and Willie (Gay) are expected to play really well. Drue (Tranquill) another vet guy, Leo (Chenal) is coming back for another year. So a lot of guys got a lot of plays in this system. So, a lot of comfortability along our defense. So that’s what it takes for us to be a lot better than we were last year.”
Q: What are your goals personally this season?
BOLTON: “I want to be the best person I can be to help our team win. Again, leadership role, whatever the guys need me to do that’s what I’m here for. Whether it be helping them learn – the young guys coming in. Just trying to get my opportunity to learn the scheme, how fast they can learn it kind of helps us out and helps us be better. So that’s just kind of my role here again I’m just trying to make myself the best person I can be and that’s just helping the guys around me.”