The wait is almost over.
The return of football being almost upon us was never more evident than on Wednesday when the Kansas City Chiefs continued to load the 10 semitrucks it takes to deliver the equipment needed for training camp on the campus of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Over the course of five days, Allen Wright, the Chiefs equipment manager, will oversee the delivery of everything from the sleds and pads the players hit during practice to the shoes and clothing the players wear every day.
"We're there to make sure that when the coaches and players walk in the door, they only have to worry about playing football," Wright said. "They're not worried about the clothes they have in their lockers or if they don't have the right shoes."
Wright has been with the Chiefs since 1983, and after 32 years with the organization and the only job he's ever known, Wright has seen a progressive expansion of his responsibilities.
"It used to be that you'd just put a helmet and shoulder pads, shoes and a laundry bag and travel bag and that's all a player needs," Wright explained. "Now they have certain shoes for certain conditions. They have tight-fit long sleeve, tight-fit short sleeve and all the different thicknesses of the different tights.
"We provide a lot for them that we didn't even 15 years ago. Nike has done a great job, but with them being so innovative, it makes us have to take a lot more as well."
The Chiefs signed an extension to keep training camp in St. Joseph, which sits just over 60 miles north of Arrowhead Stadium, for the next three years—with a couple of additional one-year options for both the Chiefs and Missouri Western.
The proximity to the complex allows Wright a certain margin for error.
"We have checklists and we have a process," Wright said. "It's worked well for us. Obviously, moving to St. Joe, it's easier for us than it was in River Falls, Wisconsin. I can come back if I need to pick something up. That wasn't the case before."
Wright is happy with the decision to keep training camp at Missouri Western, where it has been held since 2010.
"The facility is second to none," he explained. "We're so fortunate for everything Missouri Western has done up there. Their support makes our jobs a lot easier."
Wright said they'll take more than 1,600 pairs of shoes, 1,200 towels and individually organize each coach's dorm room and every player's locker.
"There are certain things guys like to have," Wright said. "If it's a good luck charm, or something that means a lot to them, a photo or some sort of a keepsake, we'll make sure they have it.
"There are certain guys who like heavy sweatpants over track pants, tennis shoes over destroyers (rain shoes). We know which guys want mouthpieces. We try to take this operation here at our complex and make it the exact same at Missouri Western."
As the 2015 Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp nears the team begin preparations for the move to their temporary home at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Wright said if anything, he's over prepared for anything that may come his way during the three-week long camp.
"As the roster changes, you have to be prepared for every scenario," he said. "I can't say, 'I don't have that.' I will always take way more, above and beyond what we need to make sure I don't have to get a phone call asking me why we don't have something."
The preparation for training camp begins just as soon as the season is over, and while it's not an eight-hour-a-day responsibility throughout the offseason, Wright said their workload picks up as soon as minicamp ends in the middle of June.
But as there's plenty of time to be prepared for the start of camp, once camp is over, the breakdown is a little different.
"We move in over the course of about five days, and we break camp in about three hours," he explained. "The best way I can describe it is you take everybody from Fry Wagner (moving company) and light their pants on fire, and all the equipment staff, then we just throw stuff in the truck and hope it makes it back.
"It's a completely different process."
While camp doesn't officially begin with a full team practice until Saturday, August 1, for Wright and his crew, the season and the work has already begun. "I'm very fortunate. I've got a great crew with five guys who are as passionate about this job as I am. It makes it a lot easier."