Kansas City Chiefs president Mark Donovan said he received several calls from employees on his morning drive into work after the Joplin tornado requesting time off work to go down to the affected areas and help out. He says he got into his office and several more employees were sitting in his office with a plan for the organization to help out.
At the time, though, Joplin officials said they would be a bigger help with a bottled water drive and that they should come down at a later date. That later date came on Thursday when nearly 150 members of the organization made the two-and-a-half-hour trip south to volunteer their time for those affected by the devastating tornado.
Donovan told his story of getting the Chiefs to Joplin in an interview with Kevin Kietzmann's Between The Lines on 810 WHB Thursday afternoon. (Check out the audio here.)
"It was a quick phone call to the league and we explained what our plan was and what we wanted to do and they immediately OK'd it," Donovan told Kietzmann. "You said it best, this is much bigger than anything else we're dealing with right now.
"The fact that Matt, and I think we had nine or 10 players with us, and our coaching staff, which is typically away right now, is back. We have Scott down here. Everyone in the organization said it's more important than this other stuff, let's go do it. The league was extremely supportive. We had to go through the right channels to make sure everything was on the up and up but that took a phone call, and here we are."
The NFL lockout doesn't allow communication between players and the coaching staff and front office but the league's waiver allowed the two sides to reunite Thursday in Joplin. He says meeting with the players was "not uncomfortable. It's fun. I got to chat with Matt for a while. I got to meet a couple of our draft picks. It's fun to be back together."
"I think it says a lot about the organization -- the players as well as the business side -- that we take it as a serious responsibility that we have a role in this community," Donovan said. "When people are in need, we need to be there. It wasn't surprising that the number of guys that could come were here today. It was good to see them and talk about things other than football."
As for the lockout, Donovan didn't provide many details but did say he was hopeful something would get done as long as the two sides are talking. And on the details of the proposed CBA leaking out, Donovan says, "I learned a long time ago: Don't believe the things on talk radio or in the media, right?"