When the Kansas City Chiefs announced their training camp schedule for 2022, a practice had been scheduled for last Friday — followed by a day off on Saturday.
But right as training camp began, the team announced that those two days would be switched. Instead, the Chiefs would practice on Saturday, preceded by a day off on Friday.
The switch-up was a bit unusual. Under head coach Andy Reid, the team has sometimes avoided having a practice on the same day as the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony; Reid has been known to want to take the day off to attend.
The reason for the change became more clear when former Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil spoke after his induction on Saturday afternoon. In a thank-you speech that lasted more than 20 minutes, Vermeil gave glowing compliments to the Hunt family — along with Reid.
“Thank you Lamar Hunt — and Norma — the finest couple I have ever met in pro football,” said Vermeil. “Unbelievable. Clark Hunt and Tavia — his son and daughter-in-law — came to be here last night and to see me this morning. Thank you for making that effort.
“Along with him came Andy Reid and Tammy... [who] left training camp [and] flew here to say congratulations to me personally last night. I have never had in my coaching career a better display of respect for someone else in the profession that you are in than what Andy Reid did for me last night. It will always touch me. Thank you, Andy and Tammy.”
Speaking to reporters after Monday’s training camp practice at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Reid said it was “great to see” Vermeil, whom he called “a great mentor” during his career.
“You know how coach Vermeil is,” he told reporters. “I mean, if he’s in with you and knows you, he’s in. So I’ve had some great times with him. We’ve kind of followed a couple of the same steps here: Philadelphia — which is a unique place — and Kansas City, [a] unique place, so we’ve had that experience.
“When you’re a head coach, there’s not of guys you can talk to that have been in the same places you’ve been — and he’s been tremendous that way, coaching me up on things.”
Reid said that Vermeil had advised him to take both of the NFL head-coaching jobs he’s now held.
“I had called him and talked to him before I took the Philly job,” recalled Reid. “He just said, ‘Listen, it’s a great organization [with] great people. It’s tough, but it’s a great place to be. If you can coach there — if you make it through — you’re doing OK.’”
Then after Vermeil had recommended Reid to Clark Hunt as a candidate for the team’s vacant head-coaching job in 2013, he was expecting another call from Reid.
And he got one.
“He talked to me about the atmosphere here and said what bad guys you are [indicating the reporters] — no, he didn’t — and he coached me up on it,” said Reid. “That’s priceless.”
This close relationship has continued throughout Reid’s time in Kansas City.
“He checks in all the time,” Reid revealed. “If it’s not once a week, it’s pretty close to once a week — and just makes sure everything’s going all right. He loves the game and that whole deal. I appreciate all that.”
Reid noted that when Vermeil walked across the stage during Saturday’s enshrinement ceremony, it took just as long it had taken the rest of the honorees combined — because he had to greet so many of the other Hall of Fame members who were on the stage.
“The fellow that was emceeing just goes, ‘Hey, this is Dick Vermeil. He’s coached for 50-plus years. He knows everybody!’” laughed Reid. “And that says it all. That’s why he’s there. A phenomenal, phenomenal human being.”
But in typical fashion, Vermeil wanted to close his enshrinement speech with praise for other NFL coaches he has admired.
“I will forever be appreciative and grateful for this honor,” he said. “The only thing that will make me feel a little better about standing here as the 28th Hall of Fame football coach is when I see Mike Holmgren come in, when I see Dan Reeves come in, when I see Marty Schottenheimer come in, when I see Mike Shanahan come in, when I see Tom Coughlin come in, when I see George Seifert come in [and] when I see Don Coryell come in.
“Believe me: if I deserve it, so do they.”