Chiefs QB Alex Smith on parity in the NFL, getting better in year two

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KC Chiefs QB Alex Smith is in Utah for a Play 60 event. He talked with ESPN 700 in Utah on Wednesday afternoon, which I transcribed below. Read on for quotes from Smith on Utah, the Chiefs season and, of course, the greatness Arrowhead.

Q: Does it feel like it's been 10 years since you were at Utah?

Smith: Yes and no. You look back and for sure it's gone by, it's crazy that I'm 10 years out. I never would've imagined in my wildest dreams that I could play 10 years in the NFL and it's obviously been surreal. At the same time, there's been some long years in between. At times it was tough but for sure looking back it seems like it's flown by.

Q: They opened up a new Alex Smith football facility. Can you come back here to Utah without them asking you for money?

Smith: It's part of the deal. They pick and choose their moments. Utah was basically the only school that gave me an opportunity and changed my life. I'm so proud of Utah and the Utes, so for me it's easy, it's easy to give back. Certainly the kids and students come from the same position, coming in with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder and beating up on some of the bigger schools.

Q: Is it weird when you come back how different everything is with the weight room with your name on it, the indoor practice facility, the stadium has changed. It's a completely different place, isn't it?

Smith: It's fun to come back and check up on it. When I was here, the indoor had just gone up. It was brand new and was the first thing to start to turn. I still haven't seen the new football facility. It's supposed to be awesome. All of that, joining the Pac-12, so many things have changed but all for the better. It's all been great.

Q: How was it being in the Chiefs turnaround last year?

I think we built the foundation for the years to come. -Alex Smith

Smith: Getting the chance to be part of two turnarounds, it's fun.There's so much parity in the NFL. One of the things I noticed first when going to Kansas City was the guys in the locker room. Not just the talent that was in place, but the kind of character that was there. High character guys that cared about their teammates and worked hard. And then the addition of coach Reid and his coaching staff kind of completing the puzzle. His pedigree and resume speaks for itself, the history he's had. He's obviously a great, great coach and a great teacher. He did some good things last year to get the ball rolling. I think we built the foundation for the years to come.

Q: Kansas City is such a Chiefs town. How were Chiefs fans and Arrowhead?

Smith: I had a little taste of it before being on the opposite end of it. I played at Arrowhead twice early on in my career and both times were not so good for me. It's a tough place to play. It was a ton of fun being apart of that on the right side. Some of the best fans in the county. Arrowhead, I truly think, is the greatest home field advantage there is. If someone hasn't seen a game there and they're an NFL fan, they're missing out. It's truly a special place. It was fun to be part of that. Fun for the fans, the last couple of years weren't great and no one likes losing, the fans included and players included. To be part of that turnaround coming in with the culture change and seeing the entire Chiefs kingdom run with it was a lot of fun.

Q: What is the biggest part of the turnaround besides you and Reid?

Smith: It's tough to point to any one thing. There's a lot that goes into winning football games from talent to character to coaches to the chemistry between coaches and players. It's difficult to put your finger on any one thing. It's all those things that go into a winning environment to make that change.

Q: Can you improve in year two in Kansas City?

Arrowhead, I truly think, is the greatest home field advantage there is. -Alex Smith

Smith: That's the goal. The crazy thing with the NFL is that last year's done and over with and this is an entirely new team and new year. There is so much parity across the league in the NFL and so many changes to rosters year in and year out so it's literally like starting all over. The nice thing is that the coaches and coaching staff remained in place. From a system standpoint, we'll be able to build off of last year. There will be a lot of new faces, a lot of turnover year to year and come April 21st we'll have a chance to get going on that.

Q: What do you make of Utah's quarterback competition?

Smith: I think it's a good thing in that sense. You want depth, you want competition and you want a bunch of good players. It's an important position and you want a bunch of talent and developing that talent. I think it's a good problem to have in the quarterback room is that they have a bunch of guys who want to compete and play and they're all good players. I think that's only good for the team and the program.

Q: What is the Play 60 campaign you're doing in town?

Smith: We're shooting a video that will be shown around the region in Utah and Nevada about about playing 60 and eating right. It's a no brainer, helping kids play 60 minutes a day and then in combination with that, eating right. I wish I would've known as a kid what I know now. Not that I didn't eat great, but just to eat better and how important it is for your body, especially with these kids growing and developing and putting the right things in their body. It starts with dairy and milk as kind of the building blocks of life. No brainer being here getting ready to do a program here with the school assembly, bringing the kids in and having some fun with this.

Q: How much longer are you in town?

Smith: Just for the day.

Q: How much did you weigh coming to Utah? You must've weighed 175 soaking wet.

Smith: That sounds about right, right about there.

Q: You could've used that chocolate milk every day.

Smith: No kidding. That's the one thing growing up, I drank a ton of milk. My mom couldn't get enough at the grocery store.

Q: Where were you on the depth chart when you came in?

Smith: I red-shirted to start the year. Lance [Rice] was starting and then halfway through the year we made some change, then it was Brett Elliott who started the rest of the season with me backing him up.

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