Things can change in a flash in the business of professional football.
Such has happened in the wide receiver room of the Kansas City Chiefs over the past few days, as with the release of Jeremy Maclin, suddenly every player in it is under age 25. Seven of the players are 24.
Chris Conley, who led all Kansas City wide receivers in offensive snaps last season, is among that group.
Maclin's message to Conley was simple: take what I've taught you and run with it.
"Jeremy called me shortly after he got off the phone with the staff here and just let me know that he wasn't going to be here anymore," Conley explained, "that we needed to take the things that he's taught us and move forward with it, that we know what to do and we're ready."
A look at some of the best photos of Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley (17) from the 2016 season.
Conley is already moving forward through two OTA practices this week, as he looks to build upon the improvements he made from his rookie season to year two. Conley went up in starts, targets and receptions last season, along with eclipsing the 500-yard mark for the first time in his short career.
"Not much is different," Conley explained. "I'm still coming out here, doing what they ask me to do. That role is a little bit different now, moving around to some different spots, doing some different things that Jeremy was doing, but other than that, things are really the same. I think we're getting on a good page with our quarterbacks and the offense is moving at a good tempo."
Asked about leadership, Conley and second-year receivers Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson seemed to agree—what may have been veteran guidance before is now groupthink, and in that, there is not fear, but rather confidence.
"I think the way that you're a good leader is you have to be a good follower first," he said. "You have to be a good listener, and I got a lot of time being able to watch him and listen, and I think that's the way you help these younger guys is you just pay attention."
As the younger players see Conley doing the right things, he explained, they too will follow.
"It's not necessarily being a ra-ra guy every day," he added. "Sometimes it's coming out here, seeing what they do, waiting until the end of practice and talking to them about what they can get better at."