Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach joined 610 Sports Radio’s “Fescoe in the Morning” on Thursday. Besides discussing the team’s potential emergency wide receiver for the season, Veach provided the first glimpse into what this year’s training camp might look like for the world champions.
The Chiefs are holding training camp in Kansas City rather than St. Joseph due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Veach said that when he first returned to the practice facility from his trip to Mount Carmel, he had to pass two COVID tests in order to step back in the building. The general manager’s morning begins outside Arrowhead Stadium these daysunn.
“I get up in the morning and I drive straight to the stadium — not the practice facility,” explained Veach. “Once I get the nasal swab, then I drive back to the practice facility. I fill out my COVID questionnaire, get my temperature checked, put my mask on, and then I get a little microchip contact tracer that I wear with me throughout the day, so if, at any point, I end up contracting COVID, they’ll be able to go back and see exactly who I was in contact with and how close I was. This plan is very detailed... I really feel that our building is the safest place to be in the country because there’s so many people busting their tails to keep this place clean and to keep this place on top of all the medical advances.”
Back in June, we learned the NFL would implement a tier system for camp in order to limit unnecessary player interaction. Only certain team personnel members are permitted to come in close contact with players.
“The players, they don’t even have a tier because it’s all about them,” said Veach. “The Tier 1 is more of employees that have to have physical contact with the players, so doctors may have to put their hands on the players, physicians, coaches at times — those would be the Tier 1s. The Tier 2 guys would be people who are around them but don’t necessarily need to be in close proximity or contact, and I’d be considered a Tier 2.
“So basically all of the players and all of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees will be monitored every day and swabbed every day. Once you get into Tier 3, these are other parts of the organization that could work separately, independently, take a different elevator on a different floor, have really no contact at all with the players, so they’re not subjected to maybe nasal swabs every day, but they’ll still get the temperature checks and the IV readings.”
Veach admitted that having 80 to 90 players in Kansas City and maintaining social distancing has been a difficult task for the organization, but it is one they are handling.
“Our infectious disease response team — they’ve done a great job of game-planning and utilizing all the area we have there,” Veach said. “(Head athletic trainer/vice president) Rick Burkholder and (director of team operations) Mitch Reynolds and (stadium facilities director) Rocco Mazzella and (vice president of administation) Kirsten Krug, all these people downstairs have put their heads together and come up with some really good ideas and have a good game plan. We’re actually going to utilize the stadium as our office, so we’re going to practice here at the practice facility and use our practice fields here. Certainly want to keep that game field nice and clean for game day.”
The practice facility also offers three fields as opposed to one at Arrowhead.
“ Pat (Mahomes), Tyreek (Hill), (Travis) Kelce those guys, they’ll probably drive to the stadium in the mornings,” continued Veach. “I believe we have the offense in the home locker rooms at the stadium and the defense in the road locker rooms at the stadium. Extra space when we get to use both those places. So those guys will go in there, get tape, get suited up, probably have a golf-cart system — drive them down here to the practice facility. We’ll utilize the fields [at the practice facility].
“Once they’re done, they’ll hop back on the carts and again, be spread out so that the offense is in the home locker room, the defense is in the road locker room and then all of that club area space on level two — you know how big it is and how wide it is and certainly, it covers the whole stadium.
“We’re just going to spread meeting rooms out and utilize that club area to have offense and the defensive meetings, position rooms — probably partition some areas off and have a receiving meeting room here, a defensive back meeting room here, a team gathering area here. But again, we all know how big our stadium, and that’s certainly a good thing. To be able to utilize all that club space on level two will allow us to have plenty of meeting space and plenty of separation in between each player.”
It took some creativity, but the Chiefs seemed to have found a way to make it work.