The Kansas City Chiefs held their annual fantasy camp benefitting the Center for Concussion Management at the University of Kansas Health System on Thursday and Friday last week, and for the very first time, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell came out to visit its participants.
Goodell first greeted fantasy campers as they went through drills on the Arrowhead Stadium field Friday morning. Then, during lunch, he joined the "Voice of the Chiefs," Mitch Holthus, for a question-and-answer panel featuring him, Chiefs president Mark Donovan, Dustin Colquitt and Chris Conley.
"For the commissioner, in the summertime, on June 16, to go out of his way to be in the Chiefs Kingdom is, I think, very noteworthy," Holthus said. "I think it's a strong statement on his part to build relationships in the league, but it's also a strong statement going the other way toward him, that this is a special franchise. I think that he also sees this has always been a franchise to be a pioneer."
Throughout the panel, Goodell spoke about such league topics as celebrations, primetime football and concussion research. At one point, Donovan discussed what it meant to have an executive mentor like Goodell. Colquitt talked about being a 12-year veteran while Conley provided a look into his experiences as a young player entering his third season.
"I like interacting with our fans, and I think this was a really unique panel," Conley said. "There's a wealth of knowledge up there, that people who were sitting in the crowd just don't have a perspective of. I think it was really cool to be able to pick [the commissioner's] brain and for him to pick ours."
The 2017 Chiefs Fantasy Camp was held at Arrowhead Stadium June 15-16. The Chiefs Fantasy Camp benefits the Center for Concussion Management at The University of Kansas Health System.
Bob Page, the president and CEO of the University of Kansas Health System, helps to organize the event each year.
"It's been a great experience this year, and we took it up a notch," Page said. "We had a chance for the community to experience the Chiefs, and quite frankly, for the Chiefs to experience the community, which is what it's all about, right? An inside look behind the ropes. It's been tons of fun."
Along with an opportunity to hear from the commissioner, campers received an inspirational coach's talk from former Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil, learned how to kick from Pro Football Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud and ran out on to the Arrowhead Stadium field out of the tunnel.
"I have fun with introducing them," Holthus added. "We do some exit interviews with people each year. One of their favorite parts is getting introduced down the tunnel just like they were Marcus Peters on game day, and I try to spice those up a little bit, but to spice them up, we do some intel. We try to get into their background and try to make it fun and I enjoy that."
After the players had been announced, the day wrapped with a flag football tournament, and this year's championship went to the team led by "the Human Joystick," Dante Hall.
But according to Page, partnership events like the yearly fantasy camp are just the beginning.
"Mark (Donovan) and I got together years ago," Page added. "We knew we had something special. I don't know that we knew how special it was. I think we had a great relationship and every time we get together, we're thinking about the next best thing. Just stay tuned, there is some fun stuff ahead."