Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke to reporters on Friday as the team continues Phase I of the offseason program — that is, while the players and coaches continue to meet virtually under social distancing rules for the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Yes... he saw the video
Early on Friday morning — as most probably expected — TMZ Sports had published bystander cell phone video of cornerback Bashaud Breeland’s arrest on Monday. Reid acknowledged seeing it and having talked to Breeland since the incident — and said the team would stick to its normal procedure for such things,
“We’re just going to let the law enforcement part of it take its course, and let’s see what exactly went on with the situation,” sad. I know there’s video out there. I’ve seen the video, [and] I’ve talked to the kid. But let’s find out what the base of this thing was — what caused everything to take place. I’m curious to see that part — as we all are — I think. And then we’ll evaluate it from there. But we’ve always done this, we’ve always let law enforcement kind of take it. And then we go from there.”
2. Reid thinks that the Chris Jones deal will get worked out
As time has passed, it’s been more and more clear that it was always the Chiefs’ primary intention to get their star defensive tackle locked up long-term — and Reid thinks it’s going to happen.
“I always look at communication,” said the head coach. “As long as there’s talk between the parties, I’m good with that. I have full trust in Brett Veach and his crew – [Director of football administration] Brandt Tilis and (Football operations counsel) Chris Shea. They stay on top of that. Then I think Chris’ representation has done a nice job of keeping it open too.
“We understand, I think in this league, that these bigger deals take a little time. Now Chris has got a time restriction on his, but they do take time. You’ve got to massage through the thing and work it out and talk — and that’s what they’re doing. I’m sure it will all work out in the end.”
3. Even with almost the same players as the championship team, the Chiefs won’t stand pat
There’s been a lot of speculation that the Chiefs — with so many returning players from their championship team — will have an advantage because they will already know the system and be familiar with each other.
But Reid said he is changing things anyway.
“We’re not going to go, ‘OK, we’ve got everybody coming back. We’re going to give you the same plays to run.’ No, we’re going to keep growing. I don’t think we came near to what we could be last year. Our defense was in their first year as a staff and with installations.
“Grow. Continue to grow. And want that — cherish that — as a player. We’re giving you things to even be greater than what you are now. Likewise, on offense, we’re going to keep attacking that thing offensively and giving you things that you can really benefit from as a player and as a team.”
Reid also said that from his time with the Green Bay Packers, he is familiar with the challenges of attempting a repeat run.
“I’ve been on a back-to-back team going to the Super Bowl when I was an assistant.” he noted. “We ended up losing the second one. I understand the intensity level that it takes to get there the first time. There’s a certain ‘climb the ladder’ attitude that takes place the first time.
“The second time that you go — some of those motivations — it’s not the same motivation that you had the first time. You really have to focus in on trying to be better, trying to challenge yourselves to be even greater than what you were that previous year. It’s a mindset ==, and it starts now.”
4. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif isn’t the only Offensive Lineman, M.D. Reid has known
Reid talked about his relationship with Dr. Danny Fortmann, a physician with whom he became acquainted through his mother Elizabeth — who was a radiologist. Fortmann was a seven-time All-Pro guard for the Chicago Bears from 1936 through 1943 — and like Duvernay-Tardif, went to medical school during his playing career.
“I got to know Dr. Fortmann for however many years,” recalled Reid, “and he followed my career all the way up through college [because] we had that bond there with the football part of it.
“He had told me the story about how [Bears head coach] Papa Bear Halas had let him, in the offseason, go about doing his medical studies and going through medical school — and actually I think it went into training camp just a little bit and he gave him a little time there.”
Reid said that knowing Fortmann — and his story — helped him when he had a player of his own who wanted to study medicine while he played pro football.
“It allowed me to — kind of with a clear mind — go, ‘Hey, listen, you do what you need to do there,” said Reid of his conversations about it with Duvernay-Tardif. “It’s a pretty spectacular thing and a tough thing that you’re doing, to play professional football, and with English being your second language on top of that, and then going to medical school on top of that.’”
Fortmann had a medical practice in Los Angeles after returning from Navy service during World War II — and eventually served as the team doctor for the Los Angeles Rams from 1947 through 1963.
Reid expressed his admiration for Duvernay-Tardif, who has chosen to serve on the front lines of the pandemic during the offseason.
“He’s taking all the precautions he can, but he’s jumping in — he’s going. You wouldn’t expect anything different from Larry — when you get to know Larry. He’s all in. He’s all in on being a doctor and being the best doctor he possibly can be. And these doctors are helpers; they’re caretakers. So, he’s going to jump in and take care of people — just like he does as a player. There are risks involved, but you go — and you go 100 miles per hour. You take the precautionary measures that you can, but that’s how he’s handling it.”
5. Reid is almost ready for training camp
It shouldn’t surprise you that Reid has dug into organizing everything about training camp long before it begins. This is who Reid is — the man who always has everything completely locked down.
“I’ve gone through the new rules that the CBA has presented to us and I’m setting up camp under those rules,” he explained. “I’m ready to adjust if needed as information comes in. Information comes in daily. And the league’s working through it just as we’re working through it.”
But Reid knows there is still a lot of uncertainty in how things will play out.
“Nobody knows,” he said. “It’s the unknown, and it’s hard to plan for the unknown. But we’ll be ready. We’re going to be ready no matter what. I’ve got things I’m sure I’ll have to throw in the trashcan because it didn’t come to fruition, but I’m going to be ready for whatever shows and stay as flexible as I possibly can.”