CHAIRMAN & CEO CLARK HUNT OPENING STATEMENT:"Good morning everybody. I want to particularly say welcome to the Chiefs staff and our season ticket holders who are with us this morning. Glad that you could join us. As you know today is the culmination of a busy offseason for us. We reached a long-term contract extension with Andy Reid in June. Which will keep him on the sidelines of Arrowhead for years to come. I know that Andy and the coaches are excited to get to Training Camp up in St. Joseph and get it kicked off. We're very excited to have him leading our football team this season and into the future. Over the course of the last month, we've conducted a broad search for a new general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. We've evaluated more than a dozen candidates from around the league and interviewed a number of outstanding personnel executives during this time. After going through the process it was clear that Brett Veach was the right person to be the next general manager of the Chiefs, and we are excited to introduce him today. I've had the pleasure of working with Brett during his time with us and I am confident that he will do an outstanding job of leading our personnel department. He has a sharp football mind, a tremendous work ethic and a keen eye for finding talent. Brett has played a critical role in our success over the last four seasons and I know that he is eager to get to work to build upon the strong foundation that we have. Please join me in welcoming the new general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs, Brett Veach."
GENERAL MANAGER BRETT VEACH OPENING STATEMENT:"Thank you and thanks for everyone for being here today. I want to first start off by thanking Clark Hunt and the entire Hunt family. I am extremely honored and humbled to represent the Kansas City Chiefs. To my family that is here today, my mother and father Robert and Donna Veach. My brothers Bob and John. My wife Alison and our three children Ella, Elijah and Wylan. Thank you all for your unconditional love and support throughout the years. I'd like to take this time to thank my extended family and friends in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. I was very fortunate to grow up in a small town where football meant everything. And I am very proud to say that before I was a Kansas City Chief, I was a Mount Carmel Red Tornado. To the Chiefs Kingdom, this is a very challenging profession, both mentally and emotionally, however when you pull up to the stadium on game day, smell the barbeque in the air and see the fan interaction and that Sea of Red, you're quickly reminded of how lucky we are to work here in this city for this great owner and these great fans. Your passion and devotion to our team motivates me every day and it's truly inspiring. During the course of my career I've had the opportunity to work with many influential people who have helped mold me both personally and professionally. I'd like to take the time to recognize these people. My high school coach Dave Williams, my college coaches and mentors at the University of Delaware, Jerry Oravitz who is here today, Paul Williams, Dave Scott, Ted Kempski, Tubby Raymond, K.C. Keeler, Kirk Ciarrocca and Bob Sabol. To the Lurie family and the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff, personnel department for giving me my first opportunity to work in the NFL. All of the NFL coaches who took time out of their personal schedule to teach me more about the game of football. These individuals include, the late-Jim Johnson, John Harbaugh, Marty Mornhinweg, Juan Castillo, David Culley, James Urban, Todd Bowles, Sean McDermott, our entire Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff, especially our offensive coordinator and my former quarterback at Delaware, Matt Nagy. I would also like to thank the personnel department members that have guided me over the years. Tom Hecker, Jason Light, Matt Russell, Ryan Grigson, Phil Savage, Anthony Patch, certainly our entire Chiefs personnel staff and without question John Dorsey and Chris Ballard. Now 10 years ago Andy Reid took a gamble on hiring a former intern as his assistant. Although we didn't talk much the first few months while we were working together we quickly developed a strong relationship. I obviously learned a lot of football from Coach over the years. But as many of his current and former players will tell you, Andy (Reid) teaches you more about life than the game of football. So I want to thank Andy (Reid) for helping me become a better scout but more importantly a better person. Again my family and I are extremely excited for this opportunity. I am also equally excited to get a chance to know you and answer your questions today."
Q:When did you know you wanted to be a GM and why does this opportunity with this team mean so much to you?
VEACH: "I would say that when I first started working with coach (Andy Reid), many of those assistants went onto the coaching side. I was just at the right place at the right time where coach (Reid) was doing a lot of personnel stuff at Philadelphia. Much of the work he gave me was centered to the personnel side, so I grew a very deep passion for player evaluation and roster composition. And then obviously coming here, my last four years and really falling in love with the city, falling in love with the players here. This opportunity meant everything to me."
Q: What did you learn from John (Dorsey), because he put a real emphasis on the athleticism and marrying that with tape. How much of that is your philosophy and what did you learn from John?
VEACH: "I think the great thing from John (Dorsey) from my standpoint is just the, as John would always say 'the Green Bay way'. He had a format. We can all look at players and evaluate players, for the most part we should be able to determine a good player from a bad player. But there's a way to attack each period of the transactional phases in the calendar year. So I think the layout, the aggressiveness in which how you attack each period was very important to me. Coming from Philadelphia was a little bit different. In our pre-draft meetings, now we're 17 days, we're all in and I think the whole process. John had a lot of experience, so he was able to shift my thinking in different areas."
Q:What was your relationship like with John Dorsey and considering the comings and goings in the front office during this offseason, how would you characterize the organization of the personnel department you're taking over right now as you begin your first training camp?
VEACH: "I had a great relationship with John (Dorsey) – still do. I think moving forward, I've been here for four years, so I've gotten to know and respect all these staff members here which is going to help us hit the ground running here as we go."
Q:When you got started in the NFL, your career could have gone coaching or could have gone into personnel. What was it about the personnel that led you this way?* *
VEACH: "I love college football. That was the one thing. I was just fascinated by putting a roster together and seeing how all the pieces of the puzzle fit. Being in Philadelphia, they did a good job extending players and thinking long-term. I thought it was an interesting process and quickly fell in love with it."
Q:Since it's late in the offseason here, what's priority number one for you and how do you plan on putting your stamp on this team?* *
VEACH: "Obviously, my first priority when I got the job was to talk to our scouts and our personnel members and go over our plan. A lot didn't change, but there are some moving pieces of our staff. My first priority was to reach out to them, go over our schedule and our plan of attack for August. Then obviously to get Patrick (Mahomes) signed, so he was in on time. Look, we're going to be there today. I'm going to leave and drive right to camp. I'm excited to see those guys, and we've worked together for four years. We know what's expected from each other."
Q:What do you think some of your strengths and weaknesses lie as you start this position? And Tamba Hali, as the new general manager how are you going to address that and how do you feel your strengths and weaknesses will be for the future?* *
VEACH: "I spend a lot of time on the college side, so I have a great deal of experience in regards to the college draft, the draft board, setting the board, moving up and down the board. The great thing was when I got here with John (Dorsey) and Chris (Ballard) they threw me right into the fire with the pro stuff. So I feel my foundation is the college and as we've gone on here I've gotten really good with the professional and transactional periods. But I think at any level you have to get better every year at each level. Another advantage of being here, I know these guys. I've seen them every day for four years. I love Tamba (Hali), obviously I'm excited to see Tamba (Hali). I'm not concerned about that. I think it will be an easy transition."
Q:What will you do differently in the personnel department?* *
VEACH: "I feel like we've done a good job in regards to player acquisitions. I think one of the things is that we've been very active, not just in the draft but I think waiver wise. I remember sitting in the draft room with John (Dorsey), Chris (Ballard), Mike Borgonzi, Ryan Poles and we slept in the room and we acquired those seven players. I think we have a really good understanding of how each phase works and we're excited. I think we have a good plan moving forward."
Q:What ways do you feel like this team will have your stamp and your identity on it?
VEACH: "I don't really think it is about me, it is about the team. And I think that collectively Mr. Hunt and Coach Reid have a vision for this team and it is my job to work with our staff to find players that fit that vision. We will always do things together and be a collaborative process. It was that way with (John Dorsey). That's what we do, we make decisions that are in the best interest of the Chiefs."
Q:How will you handle it if you and Andy disagree?
Veach: "Well, that's the thing. Working with Coach, obviously we disagree a lot. It is not like we are working together for four years and we agree on everything. A lot of times we disagree. The one thing about Coach and if you know Coach, he likes to surround himself with people who work hard and challenge him. I don't think Coach would have had respect for me if I was saying 'Yes, yes, yes,' for 10 years. I think my ability to go in there and challenge him in different areas raised his game. And I think that he always understood that, when I came to him with an idea, with a solution to a problem, that it was well thought out and well researched. We have a great deal of trust and respect. Going forward, that won't be an issue."
Q:What is the most important thing you wanted to convey and message when you sat down with Clark?
Veach:"We understood where this team was heading. That we were excited about the future. That we have a bunch of great personnel people and staff members in here. Obviously, we have shown the ability to acquire talent, to develop talent, and moving forward, that I would just continue that proactive approach in other areas."
Q:What did you learn about the way Brett interacts with the people he is going to be working with that gave you confidence he was the guy for the job?
HUNT:"I think Brett is a great people person. He has mentioned already the relationships he has with the folks in our personnel department and on the coaching staff. I think he has very strong organizational skills, and I think he will do a very good job of managing the department and helping those individuals to grow and also contribute to the success to the Kansas City Chiefs."
Q:Can you believe you are sitting here as the General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs?
VEACH:"Obviously, it is an unbelievable opportunity. When I got the call from Mr. Hunt, we were very excited. When I got back to Kansas City a couple days later, you can't get caught up in the emotions because there is so much work to do and so many things that need to take place before camp even starts. There was a wave of emotions but there wasn't a lot of time to sit back and think about everything and take everything in because it happens so fast."
Q:During the interview process, did Clark voice some of his concerns that John Dorsey was doing and did you share the same concerns?
VEACH:"When I went to Dallas to have the opportunity to meet with Mr. Hunt, it was all about my vision, my plan, where I saw this team going. Construct this team not for the short, but for the long term. So it was really about my vision and we didn't get into the past."
Q:Did you and John share a similar vision?
VEACH:"Obviously, I spent four years with John, I think there are some fundamental values you always take. For example, Ron Wolf would be like Green Bay, John would be here, John Schneider in Seattle and Reggie McKenzie in Oakland. They all learned and they all take core, fundamental principles together, but they aren't the same. There will be some things that I learned from John that will be key moving forward, but also have the ability to put my own spin on things. I'm sure Chris will do the same thing in Indianapolis."
Q:Can you tell us a little bit of your philosophy in building a team?
VEACH:"Sure. We are always going to build through the draft. And we are going to put an emphasis on retaining our young players and keeping them in Kansas City a long time. We will be selective in free agency. But again, we have always been big on this: attacking every transactional period. The waiver wire cut-down days, the street free agent signings, strengthening our practice squad throughout the year. I think there are ways to get a competitive advantage on teams. I think we have been very good at that. Again, the great thing is, the staff that is already here kind of knows the game plan and knows me and knows what I bring to the table. Going forward, it will be an aggressive approach to attack each one with the primary focus being on the draft."
Q:There hasn't been a lot of drama the last few years, but there has been some recently. What is your plan to return to normalcy?* *
VEACH:"We have a great coaching staff, we have a great locker room, and we have great players. I think it would be a little different if I were coming in from somewhere else. But when you are in this line of work and you are with these guys day in and day out, they are like family members. We understand each other, and they know me so well and what I bring to the table. Obviously, you guys haven't seen me in the draft room but I can be very opinionated and very vocal. They kind of know where I am coming from."
Q:What was your message to the support staff?* *
VEACH: "Well, I haven't met with everyone yet due to the timing and it being the summer. But our message is always that this is a team process. You learn very quickly that football is, from the success your team has, there is going to be a lot of different areas, going from marketing and development upstairs to downstairs in the training room. If everyone is not on the same page, everything can get out of whack. So everyone has a big part in this. When we take the field on Sunday, I think the organization knows that, that from top to bottom everyone has a hand in that."
Q:Does it help you that you have helped construct this roster?* *
VEACH:"I think it is big. The fact that I know them and the fact that we have had success. So they don't only know me, but they know our approach has been successful."
Q:Is your strength in the salary cap?
VEACH:"Well, obviously my strength would be in the college draft and the player acquisition. I am a very inquisitive person by nature, so early on, when I knew I wanted to aspire to be a general manager, I knew the salary cap was an important factor in this. When I was in Philadelphia, I was able to pop in and talk to Joe Banner and Joe Banner gave me a good foundation. Coming here, I was able to work with Trip MacCracken, Brandt Tilis, and now Chris Shea and kind of expand on my level of knowledge. It is a very important aspect. But the cap itself is very specialized. I think my end and my standpoint is to articulate the plan so I know relative value and I know what players are worth. I know how the pieces fit together. Now, those guys are very good at what they do. But my job is to articulate the plan and vision for the next year, two years, three years. These are the guys we want, here is how they fit in the puzzle and it is their job to make it work. I think the issue sometimes you have is that the plan isn't articulated. I think you see guys getting signed late or there not being a specific deadline. But I do understand the cap, I do understand player value, and I have a plan."
Q:Will your age make it more difficult or easier at making business decisions?
VEACH:"I think it will be easier because they know who I am and know how approachable I am and they will know where the office is. It will make it easier from a sense of just familiarity."
Q:Have you spoken to John Dorsey?* *
VEACH:"I have spoken to John twice. He called me before the interview and after the interview. So we spoke twice. It was a good conversation."
Q:Are there a few big changes that you had in mind for where the organization is going?
VEACH:"Well, it will work in cycles. Right now my focus is on training camp. As for long term views, that is a vision I share with Mr. Hunt."
Q:Were you in agreement with going up to draft Mahomes?
VEACH:"Anytime you make a move that bold, you move from 27 up to 10 and you give up a three and a one, everyone is on board. I thought he was the best quarterback in the draft. There was no doubt in my mind that was the right decision.
Q:Will you talk to Tamba? Or do you leave that to Andy Reid?
VEACH: "No, we will both talk to Tamba. I know coach loves Tamba. I think Tamba just did not realize what day camp started and he was just rearing to go. We will both talk to him. I mean everyone in our facility loves Tamba and there is a time and place for everything and voice certain opinions and things of that nature. We will get with Tamba at camp and it will not be an issue."
Q:What was your reaction to those tweets?
VEACH: "You know I don't even know if I reacted in a certain way. I looked at it and I was like 'Eh, great timing on my end, right? That is awesome.' This is not a Chiefs thing. This is social media. You see that all over the NFL. Guys will say stuff. That is just part of the business. It is summer time and guys are just - it is too easy and too dangerous sometimes. Again, we love Tamba and I am excited to see him."
Q:Will you tweet as general manager?
VEACH: "No I won't."
Q:Are you planning on looking at players in college in person? Or are you going to use scouting reports and video?
VEACH: "That is one area that has to be organized in detail with your schedule. We have some great local football here right. We got Missouri. We have Kansas and Kansas State and they all play competitive schedules so I will be able to break away and see those teams play different conference games. I will incorporate with some of our road trips heading out there Tuesday or Wednesday to get out there three or four days on college campuses and see players that I am interested in and our staff is interested in. That is something I kind of learned from John. That is how he worked it and I will follow a similar schedule."
Q:What interested you about Brett the most and what was coach's reaction to your decision?
HUNT: "I think Brett brings a lot of qualities to the table that will enable him to be a successful GM. I would say the thing that stood out to me in the interview process was really his vision for the construction of the roster. A general manager has a big impact on the roster in any given year. Brett's vision is very much long term and building a championship roster over two or three years. I think he really brings that mindset to the job. Andy and I had a chance to talk about all of the candidates as I went through the interview process and there was a number of them that I think he would have worked well with, but obviously given his historical relationship with Brett, he was excited that the decision at the end of the day was to name Brett as the new general manager."