When Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach met with reporters on a conference call on Tuesday, the most significant takeaways were regarding Veach’s thoughts on returning two players to the team in 2022: left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and safety Tyrann Mathieu.
Mathieu — who will turn 30 before the season begins — has just completed a three-year, $42 million contract with the team. In those three seasons, he’s twice been named an All-Pro — and has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two years. In the locker room, he is seen as one of the team’s defensive leaders.
“Before the season, [we] had a chance to talk with Tyrann and his agent,” said Veach. “We got to the point where we said, ‘Once the season ends, we’ll be able to look at the landscape and where it’s going to be once we get to this point in the 2022 offseason and where it’s going to be in 2023.’ We’ll work through that.”
But in a tweet on Monday, it wasn’t evident that Mathieu thought he would be returning.
Lot to be proud of over the past 3 years. I’m thankful and grateful. I leave with a grateful heart having got the chance to play for all you good people! Thanks
Veach brushed that aside.
“Tyrann’s a really passionate person — and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He speaks from the heart; that’s what he does. I think the one thing that is clear is his genuine love and passion for this city, for this locker room [and] for being here. The one thing that jumps off the screen when you listen to him talk: he loves playing and living in Kansas City.
“There are certain things out of his control — and at the moment, out of our control — until we get more information and work through the process. I think that sometimes when you have guys [who] are that passionate and feel so strongly about being somewhere, they’re just saying, ‘Hey... if this is it... man, I loved it.’ I know deep down he wants to be [here].”
Veach said the team feels the same way about Mathieu, saying that he and the veteran safety’s representatives would soon meet, “exchange ideas and put our best foot forward.” But as always — especially at such an early point of the offseason — he cautioned that the final results would be hard to predict.
“The offseason is a process,” he explained. “The first thing we always do is to try to separate the emotion of the last game out, because the reality is always different than that raw emotion after a game — especially a game like [Sunday’s].
“So we’ll work with the coaching staff; I know the coaching staff’s already hard at work with their scheme evaluations. We’ll finalize our player evaluations, We’ll get together and put together a plan. Usually, these plans are multi-faceted, as you know. I think last year with the offensive line and the acquisitions there, it wasn’t just, ‘We’re going to do this.’ [Instead, it was], ‘We’re going to have a couple of different series of plans.’ These things are fluid. They all have moving parts. One move is probably a result of either a move that you did make — or one you didn’t make. Now it’s just a process of letting all that stuff work out.”
But none of that was keeping Veach from expressing how the nine-year veteran is perceived around One Arrowhead Drive.
“He’s a special person,’ said the general manager. “You won’t find anybody in the building that doesn’t love him; you won’t find anybody in any building that he’s ever played in that doesn’t love him. That’s just the way he is.”