Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt joined the media on Saturday to take questions regarding the NFL Draft and the franchise as a whole. The 16-minute interview is available above, but we rounded up four of his best quotes:
Hunt talked about retaining much of the Super Bowl LIV-winning roster.
As is widely known now, the Chiefs brought 20 of 22 Super Bowl starters back for 2020, with only Reggie Ragland and Stefen Wisniewski departing for Detroit and Pittsburgh, respectively.
“It was a conversation we had going back really to before the season was over,” said Hunt. “We were thinking about the offseason and free agency and players that we might lose and players that we might be able to bring in. Clearly, when you have a Super Bowl team you want to keep as much of that group together, particularly when you have a Super Bowl team where almost every important player is relatively young. Frankly we were skeptical that we would be able to keep as many of the guys in Kansas City as we ultimately were able to do. I think that’s a credit to Brett and his staff and the job they did. I think also the fact that those players want to be in Kansas City, they want to be playing for the Chiefs, playing with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid because they know they’ve got another shot to win a Super Bowl.”
For the first time in 50 seasons, the Chiefs will enter the NFL season as the team to beat.
“It’s what we’ve worked for, for really five decades to do — get back to the top and be the best team in the National Football League, the team that other teams and their fans aspire to be. It’s a great feeling, and I think every player we add to the team, you really analyze that player in the context of what he brings to our championship squad.
“And when you have Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback, it’s a very comforting feeling knowing that you’re bringing in players to help his offense be better or help the defense put the team in a better situation.”
Hunt addressed the difficulty of repeating as Super Bowl champions.
“I think there are probably a couple reasons why it may be hard for teams to repeat,” said Hunt. “First of all, as a champion, your schedule is a little harder than everybody else. We’re going to see the best teams in the AFC, as well as many of them in the NFC, so that mechanism makes it tough. I also think there’s a possibility or a tendency to have a let-down after you’ve won a championship, after you’ve chased something for a long time. The players and coaches, it’s very hard to come back with the same energy that you had. Clearly coming out of 2018, we had a little chip on our shoulder, right? We were just on the doorstep, or as Andy likes to say “four inches” from making it to the Super Bowl. So, I think that really served as motivation. So, that will be our challenge. Coming back with the same desire and intensity that we had last year.”
The Chiefs were fortunate to not lose any coaches despite finally winning the championship, which Hunt sees as an advantage in being able to do it again.
“We’re blessed to have Andy (Reid) leading it,” said Hunt. “We have tremendous continuity across the coaching staff, which you don’t often have with Super Bowl teams. I think that’s another thing that holds other teams back from repeating. We brought everybody back there. We have almost the entire nucleus from the players’ standpoint. And those players are generally on the young side of their careers. There’s not a lot of them trying to say, ‘Ok I finally got that ring that I’ve been chasing for a long time.’ I think these guys are hungry. And I also think maybe this unusual offseason we’re having could play to our favor.
“Whenever we’re able to get back together and start practicing, because of the continuity we have at every level, we’re going to have a lot of advantages that a lot of other teams (don’t) have. Those would be my thoughts in terms of our chances. Our goal every year is to win the Super Bowl, but I think clearly Andy has stated already that he wants to be back there on that stage at Union Station in February.”
Hunt on the virtual draft and challenges moving forward
At this time, Hunt said he was not sure how Chiefs training camp may be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The Chiefs owner was able to discuss the virtual draft, and he was pleasantly surprised with its success given the concern among personnel staff members heading into the weekend.
“The last couple of days I’ve been really, really surprised by how well it’s worked — both from a Chiefs standpoint and then just watching the broadcast,” said Hunt. “It seems to be working well around the league. So, the league and all of the teams did a great job of adapting to it. I think the league’s put on a tremendous show. It has really highlighted a lot of the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic, so I think that’s been a real positive.”
Hunt took a look around the AFC West and beyond.
All three opposing AFC West teams went offense with their first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, with the Los Angeles Chargers taking quarterback Justin Herbert, the Oakland Raiders taking wide receiver Henry Ruggs and the Denver Broncos taking wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
In the second round, the Broncos added another talented receiver for Drew Lock in KJ Hamler.
“I won’t get into specifics, but you can’t help but notice what your rivals are doing, whether they’re in the AFC West or just other teams throughout the National Football League that you know you’re going to be competing with,” said Hunt. “I think our AFC rivals specifically have had a very good draft. It seems like several of the teams have favored the offensive side with the mentality maybe of trying to keep up with our offense. But I don’t want to speak too much to their thinking. Just looking really across the league, there have been a lot of good players selected, and I thought this draft, particularly the first round down into the middle of the second round, I thought it was a very deep draft, and I think a lot of teams have been able to help themselves as a result.”