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From Footballs to Socks, the Equipment Staff Loads Up The Trucks For Training Camp

The Chiefs’ equipment staff loaded up the trucks for training camp on Wednesday morning

Eleven 53-foot trucks rolled up to One Arrowhead Drive on Wednesday morning while an assortment of staffers escorted pallet after pallet of equipment – from helmets to sticks of gum – toward the loading dock at the Kansas City Chiefs' practice facility.

Less than five months after winning Super Bowl LVIII, this annual rite officially closed the book on the 2023 campaign and marked the beginning of a new football season as the Chiefs' equipment staff packed up in preparation for another training camp at Missouri Western State University.

"We live by a mantra that not having something is not an option. So, we take way more than what we need," said Chiefs' Equipment Director Allen Wright. "All the players and coaches need to do is drive up there. We have everything else for you. You can take your pillow up there if you want, but we'll have that for you, too."

It's a herculean operation, but thankfully, Wright is the best in the business. In fact, Wright – who began his career as a training camp courier for the Chiefs in 1983 – has been doing this for more than 40 seasons. He's helped move the Chiefs to numerous training camp locations over the years, from William Jewell College (1983-1990) and the University of Wisconsin – River Falls (1991-2009) to the Chiefs' current home at Missouri Western State (2010-2019, 2021-present).

The details are significantly different now, too. When Wright first started, cleats were cleats. Today, every piece of on-field equipment – from shoes to helmets – is scanned and analyzed by Wright's staff and the league in order to ensure optimal safety.

It's all to say that the locations, needs and technology have changed considerably over time, but under Wright's steady guidance, the standard has remained the same.

"When I started, we didn't have cell phones or computers. We take a whole truck full of IT stuff now," Wright explained. "The program itself has grown, too. In 1989, we had 11 total coaches. I think this year we have almost 30. With that comes another set of everything – a rain suit, shoes, underwear, socks – everything. As for my group, there used to be only two of us. Now, there's seven of us, and we bring 10 interns. Everything has grown quite a bit."

Indeed, Wright now has a staff of six employees (Chris Shropshire, Cale Kirby, Jay White, Holt McKenney, Logan Love and Niko Barber) who each put in tireless hours to ensure that the Chiefs' football operation continues to hum along at a historic rate. No matter the time of day or the circumstances, Wright's group answers the call.

"Not having something is not an option. We take a lot of pride in even the one-off things that a coach might need," Wright said. "We do everything we can to not say 'no.'"

Kansas City Chiefs Equipment Manager Allen Wright during rookie training camp at Missouri Western State University.

As for the one item Wright has consistently packed over his four decades on the job?

"I take a three-hole punch that I took back in the early 80s," Wright said laughingly. "I have no idea why I still take it, we don't need it, but it still goes in that same box. I've just always done it."

It's all a mighty – and often thankless – task that looks easy courtesy of Wright's leadership, but when asked if this annual pilgrimage ever gets old, his answer was a simple one.

"Never," Wright said. "I've waited my whole life to be this good, so it never gets old."

The first practice of Chiefs' training camp open to the general public will take place on July 21. For more information or to reserve tickets, click here.

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