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Clark Hunt talks Brett Veach, Future of Chiefs Camp, and More

Posted Aug 15, 2017

Clark Hunt met with the media on Tuesday

Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt

Q: What are your thoughts on how [Patrick] Mahomes is doing so far?

HUNT: “I think he’s had a very good training camp. Obviously he showed well in the game last week and he’s made the competition for the backup quarterback position one of the focal points of training camp. It’s going to be fun to see him continue to develop.”

Q: Is he beyond where the organization thought he would be at this early stage?

HUNT: “That’s a question that Coach Reid can better answer because Coach knows what he’s missing or not learning. I don’t know that I can really comment on that.”

Q: Did you get some idea of the plan on developing him and not rushing? Where they wanted him to be, did you get some of a sense of their plan going into it?

HUNT: “The full process of the season is that he’s going to have a chance to learn. Whether he was going to be playing second string or third string there really wasn’t a plan. I think Andy’s making those decisions as we go.”

Q: I look at your last four or five drafts and they’ve been pretty good. How do you square that away while also knowing that you’ve done good in this area and now you have to keep it going?

HUNT: “As I mentioned at the press conference a month ago, John [Dorsey] did a great job for us overall and certainly the draft was one of his strengths. The gentleman that we replaced him with, Brett Veach, is also a very good evaluator, was part of those drafts and I feel confident that we’ll continue to be able to draft well. Which is critical. That’s how you build championship football teams.”

Q: How much of a role did that play in you saying ‘Okay I want my stability in a GM, but I still have all of these guys?’

HUNT: “We have a very strong staff, not only on the coaching side but also on the personnel side. Brett was part of that and he has great relationships with everybody on that staff. He’s worked with most of them for the last four or five years and he felt good about the group that we have going into the 2018 draft.”

Q: When you were talking to Brett, did you get the sense that he shared a lot of the same scouting values and tools that John did?

HUNT: “I think they have a lot of things in common, but they’re also their own men in certain ways. I think they bring a lot of the same skill sets. They’re not going to go about their business in the same way.”

Q: Did you get a sense for how much of an independent thinker Brett is?

HUNT: “Brett’s very much an independent thinker. He’s not somebody who forces his ideas on you, but somebody who’s very creative, somebody who has definitive thoughts about how you build a championship team and he’s also a very good communicator. I know his staff is going to know what he’s looking for and what he wants.”

Q: Being that it has been over a month since the changes and things that happened in the offseason, do you feel like the organization is more in a place where your vision has been or where you want it to be?

HUNT: “The job that a general manager has by nature, the impact happens over a long period of time. I’ve been very impressed with the job he’s done for the last month, but the truth is his impact is going to happen over two or three years, not over any four or six week period.”

Q: How often do you evaluate that? How often do you sit down and take a look at everything you feel like Brett Veach is doing and then evaluate that as a whole?

HUNT: “Formally that happens once a year, but the truth is it’s happening in my mind almost on a weekly basis.”

Q: Do things in the front office seem more stabilized and more comfortable than before the hiring?

HUNT: “I’ll say I’m just very pleased with the job that he’s doing. I think he’s brought a lot of maturity and stability to the job. Anytime you have a change, you’re concerned about that change and maybe it disrupting the applecart and that’s not been the case with Brett. I think as a result we’re poised to go into 2017 on a very strong foot.”

Q: You have a decision coming up here in the next couple weeks about training camp in St. Joe. Where do you stand as far as the team coming back next year for training camp?

HUNT: “I personally think we’ve had a great experience here in St. Joe, not only this year, but for the last seven or eight years that we’ve been here. I know Andy feels very positive about having training camp here, Brett feels very positive about having training camp here. I think it’s a good experience for our fans who are able to drive up from Kansas City. It is something that we’ll sit down and talk about as an organization, but personally I hope we’ll be able to come back.”

Q: Talking to your fellow owners, do you see some of the benefits that you could gain by maybe moving training camp to your own facility?

HUNT: “I know the trend has been to bring training camp back to their facility. Philosophically I personally like going away. Maybe it’s because I grew up going up to William Jewell and watching the Chiefs train there. I think when you have that quality of a facility, that’s an hour away from Kansas City, so it’s away but it’s easy to get back when the players and coaches have a day off. I think you just have the best of all worlds.”

Q: Have you spoken to the new athletic director here, knowing that he’s a former employee of the Chiefs?

HUNT: “I have not had a chance to speak with him. I’m so happy for his opportunity. He’s very deserving and I know he’ll do a great job here.”

Q: What’s the league’s long term plan, based on your conversations with fellow owners, on figuring out how you’re going to deal with the television experience being so good at home and how that’s affecting attendance? What are you guys going to do about that?

HUNT: “I don’t know that there is a silver bullet on that and the at home experience is going to continue to get better. That’s just the nature of technology. I think the challenge it creates for us is making sure that the experience in the stadium is as good or as compelling and different in certain respects. The one thing we have here in Kansas City that I know our fans love is the tailgating experience. Everybody loves getting to Arrowhead a couple hours early, cooking some barbeque and so forth. So we’re just going to have to continue to think about how we keep the in stadium experience better than it was the year before to compete with the technology.”

Q: Is there an emphasis on top down, like out of the box thinking?

HUNT: “I don’t know if there is an emphasis on out of the box thinking, but there certainly is a sharing of best practices in the league and also looking to other organizations who do a great job of entertaining people when they come to their amusement park, take Disney as an example.”

Q: When you look at that, do you already start having conversations about what you would like to see?

HUNT: “Yeah. We still have 13 years on our lease, we’re coming up on that mid-point on our lease so it has extensions at the end of it. So it’s a little pre-mature to start thinking about that. I think we can watch how technology continues to evolve, watch the modern stadiums, the new stadium in Atlanta and the new stadium in LA when it opens up and learn from that.”

Q: You guys have done some pretty cool stuff there outside the locker room, what’s the next thing coming?

HUNT: “Well if I told you it wouldn’t be a surprise. So that locker room club was something we thought about when we did the original renovation back in 2006 to 2010. But we just decided that we had so many new spaces in the stadium at that point that we would wait to do the locker room club later.”

Q: Is the home locker room itself a priority?

HUNT: “Our home locker hasn’t changed a lot in the 40 plus years that we’ve been there. It’s expanded when the rosters increased in size and we have made improvements to it on a small scale. We’re a little bit land locked with the space we have down there, but certainly we’ll look to continue improving as we go.”

Q: How about your expectation for this team this season?

HUNT: “Very excited about the season. I think we have a very good football team. Obviously when you win the division like last year and make it to the playoffs, that’s your goal. You want to get back but we want to get further this year. And we think we have a team that’s capable of doing that. We have some exciting young players, but we also have a very good veteran core.”

Q: When you make a move like relieving (John) Dorsey of his duties after you’ve been so good the last four years, do you hear from your buddies around the league like what’s going on or how much do you hear from guys around the league?

HUNT: “To tell the truth, nobody called me. Because that has to do with the time of year. The summer isn’t a time of year when I see a lot of my fellow owners. Everybody has been through a situation like that, maybe not exactly like that, but they understand how that works.”

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