On Friday, quarterbacks and rookies for the Kansas City Chiefs reported to the team’s training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri. Cornerback Trent McDuffie — for whom the Chiefs traded up in April’s draft to select with the 21st pick — was among players speaking to reporters.
“I haven’t been able to play in front of these fans yet,” he declared, “so I’m going to be really excited and bring a lot of juice for these fans, for sure.”
As he enters his first professional training camp, the Washington Huskies product said he recognizes the importance of the experience — even beyond the X’s and O’s.
“A big thing obviously is just learning the plays — making sure I have everything down,” McDuffie explained. “I think a big thing for me is just bonding with the DB’s — with the whole defense — so we can all come together. There [are] a lot of new moving parts, so we kind of get to establish a new identity — which is going to be a lot of fun.”
McDuffie also said that as he prepares for his rookie season, some veteran players — both inside and outside his position group — have helped him with the team’s playbook.
“Definitely [safety] Juan Thornhill,” he said. “But [linebackers] Willie Gay and Nick Bolton have been huge, too — as linebackers controlling the whole defense. Just listening to them — listening to their little critiques — even when I’m on the field. I may make a mistake. But [when] I come off the field, they tell me what [to] do and I can fix it up the next day. It’s been really awesome playing with guys like that.
“You come into a place where you don’t know the playbook, you don’t really know anything, and have guys who are smart, intelligent, and can lead a room. Makes it a lot easier transition coming from college, because there [are] so many different things you have to do and understand. Being out there with guys who know what they’re doing makes it a lot easier.”
The Chiefs have sent mixed signals about the role they envision for McDuffie, initially identifying him as an outside cornerback — only to heavily feature him in nickel roles during spring workouts. 2021’s first-team All-Pac 12 selection did not appear concerned.
“I’m all over the place,” he explained, “Inside, outside — wherever the coaches need me. I tell them, ‘Wherever you need me to play, I’m going to do my best to make sure I’m ready for my opportunity.’”
When team media last saw McDuffie, he was leaving the first day of June’s mandatory minicamp with trainers. On Friday, he clarified the injury.
“I was a little dinged up,” McDuffie admitted. “It was a long camp. But I’m feeling good, feeling healthy. Just trying to get back out there and get with the team. It was just a little head injury. Nothing too much.”
For the next four weeks, the rookie will find himself back in a college setting, where he will share a dorm room with fellow rookie defensive back Bryan Cook. McDuffie seemed ready for the experience.
“[I brought] two fans, that’s for sure,” he said of his preparation. “I heard coming out here, you need fans. I’ve got a nice little double bed. I thought it was going to be some small bed — but I’ve got some space; I can lay out. It’s better than I thought.
“It’s B-Cook. I’ve known him for a while. He’s a goofball over there, so I think it’s going to be a lot of fun rooming with him.”