It was report day for the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday as the veterans joined the quarterbacks and rookies at Missouri Western State University in anticipation of training camp.
"I'm packing by bags now – I have my comforter and my sheets ready. I think [rookie wide receiver] Skyy [Moore] has some snacks for us," said Mecole Hardman, who spoke with the media via Zoom before heading to camp. "I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's going to be a big camp with all of the new guys and getting that chemistry down. I'm excited."
Hardman is likely in for an increased workload this upcoming season as one of the cornerstones of Kansas City's new-look wide receiver corps, and after finishing the 2021 campaign with 342 yards from scrimmage over his final five games, the three-year veteran is excited for the opportunity.
"It felt good [to finish last season strong]. I was more involved and was making the plays that I should be making," Hardman said. "That was a good thing, and now I'm just trying to carry that momentum into this next season and build off that."
That mentality was mirrored by second-year center Creed Humphrey, who also took a few minutes to speak with the media before heading to St. Joseph. For Humphrey, this year's camp represents a chance to continue the offensive line's ascension as one of the best in the NFL.
"We want to be known as one of the most physically dominating lines in the league, and we have the guys who can do it," Humphrey said. "That's our entire outlook. When teams play us, we want them to know that they're playing a physical offensive line that finishes through the whistle. We're excited to get to work on that."
On the other side of the ball, linebacker Nick Bolton is also heading into his second training camp following an outstanding rookie campaign. Bolton – who mentioned that he feels "1,000 percent more comfortable" when compared to this time last year – is already looking forward to what Kansas City's defense can achieve in 2022.
"We have a young and fast defense. We're going to take pride in that," Bolton said. "We're going to be young, fast and physical…I'm excited for that and for us to get better every single day."
Bolton is perhaps the centerpiece of the Chiefs' young defense, as he'll largely be responsible for calling the defensive plays in 2022 while also playing significantly more snaps. He'll have more than enough opportunities to fill the stat sheet, but when asked to reveal his individual goals heading into his second season as a professional, Bolton's answer was simple.
"I have one goal," Bolton said. "Win the Super Bowl."
Prior to the veterans' arrival, the Chiefs held the final "preliminary" practice for quarterbacks and rookies on Monday morning. The practice – which took place inside due to rain – was the third "introductory" practice aimed at helping those in attendance find their rhythm before the entire team takes the field on Wednesday.
Monday's practice was relatively brief, but one player who stood out was tight end Mark Vital. A former basketball player at Baylor University, Vital – who spent last season on the Chiefs' practice squad – made a tremendous grab on a jump ball over a linebacker during 7-on-7 drills. It was one of multiple impressive catches for Vital on the day, providing the 25-year-old tight end with a confidence boost heading into full team practices later this week.
Looking forward, the players will have a day off from practice on Tuesday before the first full team practice takes place on Wednesday, which is open exclusively to Season Ticket Members. Thursday's practice, and every practice moving forward, will then be open to the general public.
For a full schedule of training camp practices, click here.