Chiefs LB Dee Ford: "I'm still trying to master what I do"

Here's what we learned from media availability Wednesday afternoon


Q:How have your last couple months in med school been?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"It's been pretty intense. I was back in Montreal the week after we lost against the Steelers and I started medical school. I did two months of emergency medicine and one month of geriatric medicine. I passed my exams and everything. Like the year before, Coach [Andy] Reid has been really flexible with my schedule. He understands everything that I'm trying to do. I was able to report almost three weeks later than usual -- almost at the beginning of Phase II. I was able to get a good chunk done and I'm a lot closer to graduating." 

Q:How much do you have left until graduation?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"I'm pretty much done with the clinical part of medical school. Now I just have to study for the big exam, which is next May for me. I've got eight months to study for it. Of course, I won't be studying for it during the season, but as soon as the season is over, I'll have a good three months to study for that and I'll be done with it."

Q:Do you need to get matched for your residency? Is that something you think about?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"That's the big question. The plan was to maybe delay my application times for the residency program by one year. But with the new contract and everything, I think everything is going to have to be pushed back, which is good news. I'm glad it happened. I don't know exactly how it is going to play out to be honest. I'm studying to do the exam where I can apply to work in the United States as well. I want to keep all my options open." 

Q:Can you get matched with the University of Kansas Hospital at all?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"I could for sure. They have a really good program and that's something I'm thinking about. For me, the most important thing is to graduate. After that, I want to keep my options open. Whether that's an internship here or back in Montreal, I'll do something like that in order to keep myself in the mindset of medical school. That way when I apply, I'm still up to date on the knowledge."   

Q:Is it tough to "switch gears"? Do you feel like you're in football mode?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"It's true that for me, it's hard to transition. I think the hardest transition is going from the finishing of a football season and getting back to the emergency department. In the ER, you're at the bottom of the hierarchy as far as roles in the hospital go as a medical student. That transition is hard with having the spotlight and all the focus on us within a football stadium, even with it being a lesser extent for us offensive linemen, and then transitioning to the hospital where all the attention is on the patient. That transition is hard. Coming back here after the last month in Montreal is good. I was anxious and looking forward to coming back here. It's good to be back." 

Q:Have you been doing clinicals?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"That's all I've been doing for the past few years." 

Q:Do you work in the emergency room?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"Yeah. I did three rotations, in two months and in two different emergency departments: one in trauma, one in a general emergency department and one in a geriatrics ward."

Q:How would you compare the adrenaline from working in the ER to playing the game?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"There's a few similarities. The ER department is also a place where you make split-second decisions while also having different possibilities of what could 'it' be, what could be happening and planning on what to do in certain situations. It's kind of similar to what's going on when we're on the field as an offensive lineman. You may see a different front and you have to know what the play is and what could result of it. 'This' could happen, 'that' could happen and what am I going to do if 'this and that' happen, what could possibly go wrong and what are the red flags? You need to have a little bit of the same mindset and that's the way I like it."  

Q:So you're still set on becoming a doctor even with the new contract?

DUVERNAY-TARDIF:"Absolutely. The contract for me was huge and I'm super happy about it. It's a huge vote of confidence from the Chiefs. But at the end of the day, the plan is also to become a doctor and I promised myself I was going to finish my M.D. and I'm on track to finish it this next offseason."


Q:What's this offseason been like for you? What have you been focused on?

WARE:"Just healing, getting my body ready for the season and watching tape to figure out how I can help this team and help us continue to get better."

Q:What did you learn from last year when it comes to recovery and keeping your body fresh?

WARE:"Just really being consistent. This is the time right now that is most crucial because it'll take you along through the season. You can't try to take care of your body once the season starts or you're already behind."

Q:Do you feel like you accomplished what you realistically could have accomplished in your first season as a full-time running back?

WARE:"I feel like I went out, played hard, executed my job and helped the team get wins. I'm not all about myself. Last year we finished 12-4, we didn't get to the place where we wanted to be but we'll get better this year."

Q:How much of a reaction, if any, do you have when your team drafts a running back reasonably high?

WARE:"I really don't know. This is my first time experiencing it. We'll welcome anyone into the room. Like I said, we're trying to get better and I trust everyone on our staff. John Dorsey and Andy Reid are going to bring in the right guys in order to help us get over that hump."

Q:What's it been like without Jamaal Charles at these OTAs?

WARE:"We miss him. He always had a place in our heart. He was a brother. He displayed it on and off the field. We learned from him. Now that he's gone, we wish him well. I know he's doing good and we're going to try and fill his shoes."

Q:Does your mindset change at all with regards to taking on more of a leadership role?

WARE:"No, not at all. It's the same. I prepare the same way and like I said, in the running back room, it's a brotherhood. We're not 'throwing shade' on one another, we're out there helping each other collectively."

Q:How are you helping each other?

WARE:"We've got the rookie [Kareem Hunt] and C.J. [Spiller] who are new to the system so it's a little bit of teaching them about the system and how things are ran and how we do things around here." 

Q:Is there any sort of responsibility coming back as sort of "the guy" for a club?

WARE:"Yeah. There's a lot of responsibility as far as showing leadership out here on the field and off the field. No pressure though. I go out there every day and work how I was when I was behind Marshawn [Lynch] in Seattle and how I did when I was behind Jamaal [Charles] when I came here. It's the same mindset and the same work ethic, I'm just a little bit older and a little more mature."

Q:Is there anything you would have changed or done differently about last year?

WARE:"No, not really. I gave it my all last year so we've got to just continue to get better and take it one day at a time."

Q:How would you describe working with Eric Bieniemy?

WARE:"Let's just say, it's never a boring day."

Q:How has he made you a better player?

WARE:"It's really the mentality and the mindset with how you attack each and every day and how you attack each and every play. He doesn't coach second effort."


Q:How do you feel about the Chiefs exercising the fifth year on your contract?

FORD:"I feel great about it. Like I said earlier, I try not to think about it too much. I let my agent handle things contractually and I focus on getting better and focus on my craft."

Q:How do you explain your season last year when comparing both halves of it?

FORD:"It was inconsistency. There were high points and there were low points. The ultimate point was that I wasn't healthy. That's the ultimate goal heading into this year -- to be more consistent. You're going to tweak and get better at things as you go, but the ultimate goal is to be healthy so you can execute those things."

Q:What can you do to make this season a little more even in that regard?

FORD:"That's what you're doing right now. You look back at this time last year and what you were doing and you tweak your plan so you don't run into those brick walls. I've answered that question as far as 'What do you do to be more consistent?' and I found that out."

Q:How does the side of the line you play on impact your production?

FORD:"I do different moves on the right side of the line than I do on the left. But I can rush on both sides."

Q:How much have you added to your pass-rushing repertoire?

FORD:"I haven't added too much. I'm still trying to master what I do. I haven't mastered the moves that I already do so I'm not going to add any."

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