It was predominantly three weeks of heat and humidity for the Kansas City Chiefs, but Wednesday brought changes in more ways than one.
Over 100 servicemen and women representing the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and the Air and National Guard joined the team for practice for Military Appreciation Day on a morning that had the feel of a chilly September afternoon. 20 international officers stationed at Ft. Leavenworth were also invited to camp.
"I'd like to just make a quick shoutout here to our military and the great job in which they do," head coach Andy Reid said after practice. "We appreciate them coming out here and supporting us. We appreciate everything they do for our country, so we can play this sport here."
The Kansas City Chiefs honored the military with a football presentation and post practice signing with the Chiefs players.
The military members started their visit to camp first by watching practice in a VIP tent overlooking the field. The Chiefs staff provided breakfast and the team uncommonly spent the majority of the workout on the nearest field to the tent, giving the military the best possible view.
"It just goes a long way to say that this organization is appreciative of what we do," Staff Sgt. Norris Russell Jr., who would later receive a football from Reid, said. "For them to allow us to come out here provides a huge impact to where we can go out there and experience it and tell other people about how great the environment at the facilities were, the people that work here. My hats off to this organization for what they do."
When practice concluded, the military members walked down to the field and were greeted by cheers from Chiefs fans in attendance.
Reid and the Chiefs even allowed the members to join in the closing huddle of practice, after which they were able to speak to and get autographs from the players.
"Those guys are huge," Russell added. "I was joking, saying I might want to tackle somebody. Then I realized that they have about ten or twelve more years of experience on me and I wouldn't dare try it.
"These guys are unbelievable for the talents that they have."
The final touch to Military Appreciation Day was a C-130 plane flyover, courtesy of the Rosecrans Air National Guard Base located in St. Joseph.
"I think it's the first practice I've ever been at where there's actually a flyover," Reid said. "That's normally saved for Super Bowls and those types of things, but how awesome was that?
"We all got to experience it and the guys got to mingle here with the military, which I think is an important thing."
The practice marked the final one in St. Joseph, as the Chiefs will have a mock game on Thursday, then head back to Kansas City in preparation for their second preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks Friday night.