KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — It only took Brett Veach a decade to go from working as an assistant to Andy Reid in Philadelphia to standing alongside the Kansas City Chiefs’ coach as their general manager.
The Chiefs announced Monday they had promoted their co-director of player personnel to the top job in the front office. Veach takes over for John Dorsey, who was let go after four years despite taking the once-downtrodden franchise from two wins prior to his arrival to an AFC West title last season.
Veach was an instrumental part of that rise, though, helping Dorsey to identify and acquire the kind of talent that has produced three playoff appearances in four years.
“Brett has a sharp football mind, a tremendous work ethic and a keen eye for finding talent,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement.
“Over the last four seasons he’s played a critical role in building our football team. I look forward to working with him to continue to build on the strong foundation we have in place.”
The Chiefs will introduce Veach during a news conference July 24, the same day rookies and select veterans begin to report to Missouri Western for the start of training camp.
“My family and I would like to extend our gratitude to Clark and the Hunt family for this incredible opportunity,” Veach said. “Together, we built a strong foundation of players that have helped us sustain success on the field. I’m looking forward to continuing our progress as we head into 2017.”
The 39-year-old Veach, one of the youngest GMs in the league, was a star running back in high school before playing wide receiver at Delaware. One of his quarterbacks during those years was Matt Nagy, who is now the Chiefs’ co-offensive coordinator.
Veach envisioned as a career in collegiate administration before taking a job as Reid’s assistant in Philadelphia in 2007. Three years later, he turned his attention to scouting, helping to assemble teams that consistently challenged for division championships.
Veach headed to Kansas City in 2013, shortly after Reid accepted the coaching job, and spent two years as a pro and college personnel analyst. His responsibilities expanded to player personnel two years ago, when he began working hand-in-hand with Dorsey and current Colts general manager Chris Ballard.
Dorsey was fired June 22, when Hunt decided a series of problems — communication issues, contract disputes and poor salary cap management, among them — became too big to ignore.
Still, the move was a surprise given the mid-summer timing of it, and the fact that the Chiefs were aging and underperforming when he arrived but are now positioned to have success well into the future.
Some of their best players are recent draft picks, including cornerback Marcus Peters and wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and Dorsey boldly moved up in this year’s NFL draft to select Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes III — giving the Chiefs an heir apparent to quarterback Alex Smith.
The Chiefs expressed interest in several GM candidates outside the organization, including Scott Fitterer of the Seahawks and Ryan Cowden of the Titans. It’s unclear how seriously those candidates were considered, but Veach was widely considered the top in-house candidate.
His promotion should create some continuity in the front office, which is crucial with the training camp on the horizon, and allow him to begin addressing several major issues.
The salary cap remains tight, even after the release of top wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to free up space. The future of Smith and a handful of other expensive veterans will also require close scrutiny, as will the futures of recent draft standouts who will soon be reaching free agency.
One thing Veach won’t need to worry about? Finding his way to the office.