Dick Vermeil Talks Kansas City Chiefs, Carl Peterson and Larry Johnson

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Athletes and celebrities gathered in Lake Tahoe last week for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.  At last count, there were 26 NFL quarterbacks in attendance.  810 WHB caught up with Trent Green last week.  They also talked to former Kansas City Chiefs coach and current wine salesman Dick Vermeil.

The crew talked about his time with the Chiefs, Trent Green and Todd Collins.

And wine.

Vermeil Wines in Napa Valley is in full force.  Carl Peterson, Vermeil and two of their friends are involved in the venture.  That Peterson is involved makes me think his Twitter feed might be real.  He talks an awful lot about wine.

Click here to listen to the interview.  Or click through to see some quotes on what Vermeil had to say about the team that plays in his "favorite city."

Do you still get the urge to coach?

Well, if I were 62 and not 72 I'd be coaching.  It takes tremendous stamina. I have the energy but not the stamina to go that full season, year round. Someone in a responsible position as a head coach in the NFL has to have great stamina.  Both physical and emotional stamina.  I recognized that in 2005 and thats when I told Carl, 'Carl, I think it's time to go home.'  And that's when he hired Herm Edwards.

Herm Edwards is here, too and I'm looking forward to my conversation with him.

On his time in Kansas City:

Kansas City was a great experience. Kansas City was I think overall my favorite city.  And I dont say that to be derogatory to anyone else but it's just the people are patience, understanding and the Hunt family is so wonderful to work for and with.  We became very, very close friends.

On the changes in Kansas City this offseason:

That's the nature of this game.  that's just the nature of the game. You expect it. sometimes you think it should be done, sometimes you don't.  Since I've retired, my opinions retired as well. I don't get involved in that I support what the Hunt family wants to do and I support Herman in what he wants to do the rest of his career. It wasn't going well and they made a change and I hope it works.  It'll be a totally different style of doing things.  Sometimes change is good and sometimes it isn't.

I'm a Lamar Hunt family fan and I then to be very successful.

Do you still watch football?

Oh, yes.

On Matt Cassel:

Well I like what I saw. I'm not an authority on Matt Cassel but I like what I saw.  The GM was there in New Engaland and I think that's a heck of an investment.  I think he's smart enough to not put the money in something that wouldn't be productive. I expect him to play well.  Trent Green spent eight years sitting on the bench. Kurt Warner never had an opportunity until we put him in a ball game.  Sometimes guys are ready.  Matt Cassel appears to be ready, as long as they give him a supporting cast.

Quarterbacks can be victims of a supporting cast or they can be the beneficiary of a supporting cast.  If you remember back to our team, that offensive line was the best in football. Two Hall of Famers, Pro Bowl left guard in Brian Waters, Pro Bowl center, Casey wiegmann, who never went when we were there but he could have.  Will Shields, one of the best ever. At one point we had John Tait at right tackle, that was the best offensive line in football.  That enabled Trent and Al Saunders to do everything they wanted to with the football.

If Matt Cassel gets anywhere close to that kind of support he'll start off fast.

On Tony Gonzalez's departure:

I'm disappointed but not surprised.  Not many players finish their careers where they started. Very few anymore. That's just the nature of the game.

I've talked to Tony. He's happy. He's disappointed. He would have loved to have been able to finish in Kansas City. But his frame of mind I don't think was very optimistic. He was tired of rebuilding. He wanted to be in a place where guys had already established themselves in a good offensive scheme.  It was a very good offense last year. He said he wasn't sure how good they were going to be on defense again.

He's excited. The change will probably be good for him.

On Larry Johnson:

Well he's a talent. I think he proved the kind of ability he had. And our offensive line enhanced his talent. When you have people up front doing what they were doing, for both he and Priest Holmes, we had very productive running backs.

Larry took the game beyond. He took the ten yard runs into thirty yard runs and sixty yard runs.  And as he matures, and recognizes what he has to do to be a complete pro, he will. I think he's a good person. Yes, a little complicated initially with me but he was a rookie.  And not everyone matures at the same age level, there's no rules on that. 

I like him and I'd like to coach him again. I'd work his butt off and I'd stay on his rear end and push him until he's mad at me.  But that's alright.  I think he'll help them win.

On the infamous Larry Johnson "diapers" comment:

I meant to say it's time to take his pajamas off.  That's a normal NFL term.  It must have been a Freudian slip when I said it's time to take his diapers off. 

I think he's matured a lot. And I think it helped him mature. He got mad at me and his parents were mad at me.  But I believe it will help him.

Thoughts on Carl Peterson leaving the Chiefs:

He lasted longer than anyone in the league, 20 years.  Sometimes I think change is good and I think a change might be good for him. He did an outstanding job there.  But when you don't go to Super Bowls you're not evaluated as being successful.  That's the critera. 

I'm disappointed I wasn't able to help get to the Super Bowl becasue I thought we could.  I felt ready to do it as a leader and a coach and I felt I had the players to do it with.  We just weren't good enough on defense for one reason or another.

Certainly not Carl Peterson's fault. I think he'll be back in the NFL.  He still has 8-10 years of leadership ability in him. He's a smart guy.

He makes NFL teams money. What he did in terms of improving the income of that football team in every way and ranking them up in the top 10 of the league in that kind of market.  It's just an outstanding job. And he loves the Hunt family.

Would you do anything different during your time with the Chiefs?

Well I'd draft defnsively better. We drafted poorly on defense. Our drafts were not productive enough and they should have been better. For one reason or another, and I'm not pointing fingers, they just weren't good enough.

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