While many NFL teams now conduct their training camps at their local facilities, the Kansas City Chiefs continue to travel to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph for their annual summer camp — something they have been doing since 2010. Team CEO Clark Hunt and head coach Andy Reid just think it’s just the right thing to do.
“Like Andy, I’m a big believer in the value of getting the organization away from Kansas City,” Hunt told reporters after the team’s first full training-camp practice on Sunday. “The great thing about being here in St. Joe is we’re so close [to home] — so as you can hear, we’ve got a tremendous number of fans here today. We’ll have that throughout camp — [because] they can drive up.”
Hunt believes that having the fans at the team’s practices “adds a level of energy” to the players’ experiences.
“It’s a very different environment — just thinking about the OTAs [and] not having the fans there versus having the fans [here] today,” he explained. “It’s great to be here — and great to be able to share this with our amazing fan base.”
Like Reid, Hunt also believes having the team away from home gives the players a chance to develop stronger relationships.
“[When] you have the team away, [it] really creates an opportunity, I think, for the players to bond with each other,” he noted. “[It’s] a chance for the new players to really get integrated into the organization — so I think there are a lot of positives with it.”
Hunt also has a role in training camp.
“One of the highlights of the year — for me — is getting to address the team at the opening meeting,” he revealed. “We’re obviously defending a championship this year. [Repeating] it [is] a great opportunity — something that hasn’t been done in the National Football League for almost 20 years — so I’m every bit as excited as the players and coaches to be here.”
Now that his team has hosted five straight AFC championships and appeared in three of the last four Super Bowls — winning two of them — the owner no longer has to reach deep into the archives for success stories to share.
“Seven or eight years ago, [I] spent a whole lot more time talking about the 60s and 70s than I do now,” he quipped. “I still include the history of the organization, because I think it’s important for the young players to understand where the team came from. But certainly it’s great to be able to talk about the success that we’ve had over the last four or five years.”
Hunt also likes to remind the players how lucky they are to have Reid as their leader.
“One of the points I always make to them is how blessed they are to have a Hall of Fame coach — and really one of the best coaching staffs in the National Football League,” said Hunt. “And if they’ll follow the lead of the coaches, good things are going to happen.”