KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt made a rare appearance at mandatory minicamp Tuesday and walked away pleased with the progress the team has made under new general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid.
Hunt has rarely attended practices the past few years, but said in January he wanted to take on a more visible role with the franchise his late father, Lamar Hunt, founded during the AFL days.
Hunt led the search for coach Romeo Crennel’s replacement, and then hired Dorsey to replace Scott Pioli. So he was keen to see what the Chiefs have been up to since the NFL draft.
“It’s been so exciting this spring to see the guys progress,” Hunt said. “Even two weeks ago, I thought the practice was great, but you move to today and the minicamp that we’re in, you can see the guys are really picking it up. You can feel the excitement in the building.”
The Chiefs made several bold moves this past offseason after a 2-14 finish.
They traded away a pair of draft picks to acquire quarterback Alex Smith from the 49ers, signed wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a long-term deal, placed the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert and spent lavishly in free agency to overhaul their defensive backfield and tight end situation.
The result has been a team that has spent three weeks of voluntary workouts and now a week of mandatory minicamp trying to get accustomed to its new personnel and coaching staff.
“I think any time you have a change in your staff there’s a different feel to it,” Hunt said. “Everyone has the way they approach the business, and how they train the guys on the field.”
Hunt said he’s noticed that practices under Reid are run at a much faster pace, and that they have a certain crispness that was lacking under Crennel and former coach Todd Haley.
Former Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, who worked for Hunt and is a longtime friend of Reid, also dropped in on the first of three mandatory practices. It was Vermeil who helped convince Reid to take the job when Hunt offered it to him during a lengthy interview in January.
“I’ve said this many times and I really believe it, there’s a reason you win. And Andy knows all the reasons — knows how you win, what you have to do, and I think he has the support staff here to help him do it,” Vermeil said. “And there’s some good football players here, some real good football players, and he’ll just make them better.”
Vermeil also walked away impressed with the way Reid conducted the 2-hour workout, which mainly consisted of seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 team periods.
“Very impressive football practice, very impressive,” Vermeil said. “John Dorsey has done a nice job with the talent and Andy’s had a lot of fun. He’s rejuvenated, you can tell. I’ve been with him through all different moods the last few years and you’re very, very fortunate to have Andy Reid.”
Reid said that he had an open-door policy with Vermeil in Philadelphia, where Vermeil also coached, and that he was happy to extend the same courtesy when he took over the Chiefs.
“It was great to see him,” Reid said, before breaking into a smile. “He’s in the wine business — he’s got this wine business that’s unbelievable. He’s selling it like crazy. Every time I talk to him, he’s in a different state. It must be good stuff.”
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