One of the rituals of Kansas City Chiefs training camp is a press availability with Clark Hunt — one in which the team owner expresses confidence in the team for the coming season.
Speaking to the media in the 2019 edition of the press conference on Saturday, Hunt was asked if getting to the AFC championship game in 2018 had made him more optimistic than usual.
“It sure does,” Hunt replied. “Obviously, being as close as we were to the Super Bowl last year — and in Andy’s Reid’s words, ‘coming up four inches short’. It allows us to come into this season with a lot of belief — and I could feel it last night in the team meeting. I always have a chance to address the team — and a lot of our staff gets to address the team — and there’s a tremendous energy level throughout the organization. It starts with the players and coaches, but you can really feel it in the entire building.”
Hunt was then pressed for specifics.
“It’s not something that I can really articulate,” he said. “It’s just a feeling that we have. I think the players know that they have something special and the players usually are the ones that know what kind of team they have. I think all of those guys feel very excited. It was great to see them get out here this afternoon and get that first practice in.”
Hunt’s said his own goals for the team have not changed — and that he had addressed them when he spoke to the team on Friday night.
“I always talk to the team about what it means to be a Kansas City Chief,” he explained. “I talk about our mission statement. I talk about our goals — first goal is to win the AFC Championship and bring that Lamar Hunt Trophy to Kansas City, and the second one is to go get another Lombardi Trophy.”
A reporter noted that even though the Chiefs had come very close to reaching the Super Bowl, a wholesale change was made on the defensive side of the ball.
“Well, it was something that Andy Reid, Brett Veach and I talked about extensively following our loss in the AFC Championship Game,” Hunt said. “Andy made the decision to make the change with the defensive staff — which he talked to me about. I thought that was the right call. Obviously when you have a new defensive staff, you have a new scheme on defense and a lot of new players, [so] it’s going to take some time for that to gel. I think that’s really going to be one of the storylines this preseason.”
St. Joseph’s curtain call?
Another preseason storyline opened up on Friday, when Chiefs president Mark Donovan talked with reporters about the pending end of the Chiefs’ training camp commitment to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. Although Donovan spoke positively about the relationship the Chiefs’ relationship with with MWSU, he said that the team was aware of interest from other venues and would evaluate all their options after training camp was over. Hunt echoed those sentiments.
“Our experience here has been tremendous across the last 10 years and I’m not expecting anything different this year,” he said. “The staff here does such a great job. The facilities really lay out well for us. Our head coach enjoys being here. But we’ll be in a position where we can listen to other opportunities. I don’t know how that’s going to shake out because we have had such a great experience here, but we’re at the end of the 10-year commitment and it behooves us to listen to what kind of opportunities are out there.”
And when Hunt was asked about “dorm life,” we learned that in 2019, MWSU has done at least one thing better than in previous years.
“I’ve been in the same dorm room all 10 years, and there’s a familiarity that comes with that when I walk in,” Hunt replied. “The one thing I’ll say about this year, it’s marginally warmer than it’s been in previous years. It’s something like 65 degrees.”