Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt took questions from a reporter scrum early Saturday afternoon during the fourth round of the NFL Draft, marking his first media availability since KCTV5 released audio of an exchange between Tyreek Hill and fiancée Crystal Espinal, which led to Hill’s criminal case being reopened on Friday.
Hunt referenced the Chiefs’ statement, general manager Brett Veach’s Thursday night comments (which was the aforementioned statement read aloud) and the ongoing investigation multiple times throughout an availability that left Kansas City and the football community with few answers to many of the same questions that have existed for 36 hours and counting.
Statement from the Kansas City Chiefs: pic.twitter.com/Kh7LyD6dg7— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) April 26, 2019
As of this writing, Hill is suspended though still a member of the Chiefs, and Hunt said there is no timetable for when the franchise might come to a final decision on a next step.
NFL Draft weekend has made for a bizarre setting during such a disturbing few days of news. It was just three years ago almost to the date that the Chiefs drafted Hill in the fifth round, outraging many members of the Kansas City community.
Speaking in a more general sense, Hunt was willing to explain how the process of drafting players always comes with some “risk.”
“I think on every player that you bring into the organization that there is some element of risk,” he said. “It could be his playing ability. It could be things that distract them off the field, as well as trouble they get into—that’s a risk you could take. It’s something that, as a franchise, we have to be willing to own when it doesn’t go the right way, and that’s something that I believe and I know it’s something that Brett believes as well.”
Being able to identify whether or not a draftee comes with high character is an issue Hunt said every NFL franchise focuses on.
“The draft is obviously a time of year when you’re adding a bunch of new players to the team,” he said, “and that’s part of the evaluation process certainly here (in Kansas City) as well as across the league.”
Hunt was then asked if the process of vetting players has changed as time has gone on.
“I don’t know that we’ve changed how we do the process,” he explained. “Certainly when you have a change in your general manager, that GM brings his philosophy, his staff brings their own perspective on how to do that.”
It has been two years since the Chiefs fired John Dorsey for Veach, and Hunt said that Veach and Dorsey, like their predecessors, came with their own individual set of rules.
“Every general manager has a feel for the type of guys we’re looking for,” Hunt said. “I could go back to when Scott Pioli joined us. One of his first drafts, almost every one of those players was a team captain, and that was something that he was looking for. I know character is very important to Brett and something he spends a lot of time on.”
That last line could not ring more true at the moment.
As of this writing, the only thing we know is that Hill has been suspended from team activities, and the Chiefs have been unwilling to say whether that is temporary or forever thus far.