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What We Learned From Friday's Media Availability

Andy Reid, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Alex Smith and Justin Houston spoke with the media

Head Coach Andy Reid

OPENING STATEMENT: "Alright, just a couple of injury updates here. Isaiah Battle is on NFI. He has a hamstring strain that he did training before camp, and the one that I am sure you want to know about is Tamba (Hali). We put Tamba on PUP, and again, it allows us to let him continue to rehab and then get himself back ready to go, which is the most important thing. Parker Ehinger is on PUP as is Chris Jones who had knee surgery, and then Dadi Nicolas, he is on PUP. It was great to have the governor out today. Right when he mentioned Navy Seals I knew he had everybody's attention, so he gave a great talk today to the guys. I thought he did a very nice job. That is a tough thing to stand in front of those people, the players, and talk. He did a nice job. We also had a trade today, D.J. Alexander for Kevin Pierre-Louis from Seattle. I wish D.J. the best. He was a good football player for us. It gives him an opportunity up there and gives Kevin an opportunity to come here. Kevin we have liked since we was at Boston College. We look forward to getting him in the mix. I don't think he will be in until later tonight. He has to get a physical tomorrow. He gives us another quality linebacker in the mix."

Q: What do you know about the new linebacker specifically?

REID: "He has done special teams. He has had opportunities to play and has done well. They have a strong linebacker core there, so I think this gives us some depth or at least some opportunity. Let's see how he does, but we liked him coming out and we are looking forward to getting him in there."

Q: Was this a surprise for Tamba? Did you expect him to be ready to go?

REID: "No, we have stayed in touch, Rick has, with him, so we kind of followed along. We made sure we gave him a physical and all of that."

Q: What was it like to have the fans out here today?

REID: "They were great and I was surprised that everybody got here in the numbers that they were. It is different for our players (having the fans out there). I look forward to the rest of camp having them out here. It gives the guys a little extra juice. I like the fact that our guys appreciate the fans and really that is important."

Q: Was the trade based around the potential upside of having a defensive player?

REID: "Yes, and we like him as a linebacker. I think he will help us with special teams and that is okay too. We want to keep building the depth in that position and get competition."

Q: I believe that ball did not hit the ground with your first-team offense. Is that encouraging to see?

REID: "Yeah, so today we do the 10, 10, 10 pairings so we went up against more of a scout defense. There is normally balls on the ground so, yes, that is a positive thing. Great timing and execution. We will take that as a positive, but we are early in this. It has been a long day for the guys. They got up early this morning and did their conditioning which they did a nice job on and then headed to practice this afternoon."

Q: When will you guys go into pads?

REID: "Sunday."

Q: How much does Travis Kelce ask to throw the ball?

REID: "I keep him busy, so not a ton. He's got a big arm, but I told him there is a reason why at the University of Cincinnati that they moved him from quarterback to receiver. I have to keep reminding him of that."

Q: What was your message to the team, especially after the situation with Tamba?

REID: "I mentioned this to you before, Tamba is a unique character on this team. He is a big brother type. He has been around a long time. He is old and ornery and that whole deal, so the guys know Tamba. He does everything with love and appreciation. Everyone knows he loves to play the game, so that is all. I don't think that is an issue. I am sure you will talk to all of the guys and you will feel it."

Q: How does Justin Houston look?

REID: "I'd tell you he did a great job on his conditioning test. I think he really worked hard this offseason. He looked good doing what we were doing. We did not do much today football wise. He did good with what we asked him to do."


Q:Did you talk to Tamba [Hali] about what he said on Twitter about improving OTA attendance?

HOUSTON:"No because I'm not on Twitter, Instagram, I don't watch ESPN. I watch cartoons with my kids. I don't care about any of that, what's being said."

Q:It had to get back to you, right?

HOUSTON:"No I don't pay attention to any of that. That's my brother. We have a relationship. I'm not letting any outside stuff go on. We know what's going on between us and we know where we stand between us. There's nothing between us but love."

Q:Did anyone have an issue with you missing OTAs?

HOUSTON:"Not at all. Like Coach said that's voluntary. It's not mandatory. If it was meant for us to be here then they would've made it mandatory. So it's not mandatory for us to be there, only during minicamp, which I was here during minicamp."

Q:It's been a while since you've played a full season. Is that just bad luck?

HOUSTON:"That's just one injury. One injury was the cause for two seasons. It was just the time of the injury. I got hurt the end of the one year and it lingered on until the next year. It's not bad luck it was just one major injury."

Q:Do you feel like anything you're doing during the offseason is contributing to all of this?

HOUSTON:"I want to get better, I want to get stronger and I want to get healthy. I think that's how everybody goes. As long as you play, it doesn't matter what position you play, the offseason is to build your body up so you can last the whole season."

Q:How do you feel now?

HOUSTON:"I feel great. I'm ready to get out here and play and have fun and play the whole season."

Q:Your key is getting to the quarterback. Do you feel like you can return to the form you were in in 2014?

HOUSTON:"Hopefully I return better than what I was in 2014. That's my goal."

Q:So your expectations are the same, they haven't changed? You're not just thinking 'Boy if I'm healthy I'm fine' you still feel like you can be a dominant player?

HOUSTON:"My expectations are higher. I want to be more dominant than I've ever been. That's my goal. That's my plan and I'm going to work until I get there."

Q:How did you feel about the departure of John Dorsey?

HOUSTON:"I'm here to play football. That's out of my league. I have no control of that. That's between the coaches and whoever made that decision. I'm just here to do a job and that's to play football."

Q:What gives you the most hope that you all are ready to take that next step? You won the division last year, and you were really in that divisional game. What's the biggest reason you think you all are ready to do it this year?

HOUSTON:"I think this year we are healthy. The main guys are healthy from the start. Last year from the start we didn't have everybody. This year we have everybody from the start and if we can just keep everybody healthy I think we definitely can make a lot of noise."


Q:What were some of your teammates' reactions to what you said on Twitter?

HALI:"Unfortunately, my teammates, they really don't pay attention to Twitter, so the guys weren't really bent out of shape because I see them all the time. I am at the facility. It was nothing. Actually, (Eric Berry) came up to me and said, 'What is this I hear?" Because I know he doesn't go on, so I explained it to him."

Q:When did he do that?

HALI:"This morning."

Q:Where were you guys at when you talked?

HALI:"In the locker room. I think the team just got done running and (Eric Berry) came up and was like, 'What was going on with this Twitter rant?'"

Q:Can you just give us a version of what you said back to him?

HALI:"Well, you know, it was basically what I said. I just want to play and I want to be part of the equation. That was pretty much it. When I spoke with Coach, he said, 'You just have to come talk to me.' I think it was blown out of proportion because a lot of typing was going on and people get confused about what I was trying to get across. I can still play the game. I am not going to lie to anyone, I can still play the game. Coach knows what he is doing. I am a competitor. I want to compete. It is not about starting, it is not about who is better on our team. We are a team. I just want to be included and I don't want to feel like, 'Are they just going to phase me out?' It doesn't matter anymore. That was my rant. That's why I went on the rant because I know I can still play. I just don't know how the team wanted to use me anymore."

Q:Are you surprised at what a big deal this has become?

HALI:"No. I am not surprised, because I usually don't talk. I am a team first guy. Whatever we need to get done, I am on board. But, again, it became a big deal because it was so close to camp. Obviously, I am a veteran player here and have established myself as an OK player and anything I say in regards to the Chiefs and what not, there is going to be some people in to weigh on it. And for me, I didn't think it was a big deal. I just wanted the world to know that the reason I didn't play as much, it's not because of me. I would love to be on the field. But, again, the coaches have to make decisions and I have to still be a player."

Q:If I said you were an OK player, you would take that as a negative, right?

HALI:"Well, Adam, you and I go back. If I am OK to you, I am OK to you. We all have our opinion. It is a subjective opinion. I don't feel like I am an OK player. I know what I put in so whatever I get out of it, that's what I deserve."

Q:Knowing what the reaction has been, would you do it over again?

HALI:"I would do it different. I would probably do it a little bit different. I wouldn't be on Twitter doing it the way I did. I probably would have contacted Coach just to figure it out behind closed doors because I think it got blown out of proportion based on the fact that we have training camp and we are getting ready for the Super Bowl champs. So everything got blown out."

Q:When did you know you were going to start on the PUP?

HALI:"I've always known that. Rick (Burkholder) and I have been on the same page. We talked. We basically said, 'We are going to do the same thing we did last year, which will start you on PUP and then, maybe, two or three weeks in to camp you will be able to come out and start getting ready for the first game.'"

Q:Can you give us an update on your health?

HALI:"Yeah, I think I am way ahead of the ballgame. Last year, around this time, I could barely run. It took a while for me to regain my strength. As far as where I am today, I can run. I can do the things that I was doing before the year. I feel much healthier. Today, the guys came out and ran, I was up there running. It's a little different because of my age and the amount of snaps I have gotten. But, again, that doesn't play in my mind, just because I am a competitor. If I didn't care about competing, I would just take whatever."

Q:After talking to Coach, are you satisfied with what he said about your playing time going forward?

HALI:"Yeah, again, it seems like I want to play. I want to play. But it is not just based on playing time. It is based on transparency. I was being told one thing and another thing was happening. So our conversation actually went well. Coach said, 'I am going to shoot you straight. Anytime what is going on, if this is what is going to happen, then this is what you are going to get. There is not going to be any indecision.'"

Q:So have you received a clearly defined role?

HALI:"As for now, yeah, it is defined. For sure. I would rather not say what it is."


Q:I don't think the ball hit the ground today when you were in there. I know it's the first day and not one of the most competitive practices. But what does that mean at this stage right now? 

SMITH:"We had the conditioning test this morning and then kind of a shorts day out here. Kind of going, really kind of getting our legs back. Already had a full installation though this afternoon and we'll have another one tonight. You want to come out here and be sharp more than anything. I think just come out here and be sharp – the guys did a good job of that. With some of these things now that we've done, it's now the fourth or fifth time a lot of us have heard these things. I think the attention to detail with that gets finer and finer. I think that's a good thing, I thought the guys were sharp today. I think it'll be good to look at it but like you said the meat of it starts tomorrow. Kind of a mental day after the conditioning test and I think it's good to be clean and assignment sound for the most part."

Q: Sometimes you have a sense of humor. Did you greet Tamba (Hali) or any of the other guys like that?

SMITH: "Yes. Especially Tamba (Hali). This will be my fifth year sharing a locker room with them. I feel like I got a good idea of the type of person Tamba is and what's in his heart. Today there's so many different ways, it's such a different deal social media and access. I think a lot of that's great but I think a lot of that can get out of hand. I know a lot of that got blown up. So it's good just to see him and crack a smile but for sure give him a hard time, jab him a little bit. Especially as the old guy, to me to have a little drama, I think that's funny."

Q: Can you share or keep that one?

SMITH: "Yeah I'll just keep it private. I think it's funny. The old guys aren't all drama free."

Q: Is it disappointing, a playoff loss at home, add more fuel or what does it do in the offseason or what does it do now?

SMITH: "It's more fuel for sure. I mean I think it's more fuel. I think the dangerous thing for that is we don't get to go back to that moment. We had to earn a lot. A lot of work went in and a lot of things had to go right to even have that opportunity and that's what makes it so frustrating to watch it slide by us. We start back at zero. It doesn't matter how many games we won last year or how many games we've won the last four years. None of that matters. We start back over – we've got a big one off the bat. The division is as competitive as ever. We got to scratch and claw to earn it all over to even get an opportunity like that again. I think that's kind of the double-edge sword of all that. You don't get to go back to that moment. We've got to start all over. And you can't expect that. We've got to have that same mentality, that same sense of urgency to be able to do that."

Q: Is that something you don't re-visit? Do you watch that game over? Have you watched that game?

SMITH: "Yeah we watch it a ton. That's what the offseason is for. We watched that game – it's in every cutup. Numerous times. I think at this point it's buried. It's not like it's forbidden to talk about but it's not something we're harping on or beating to the ground about." 

Q: Did you ever talk in the offseason about feeling old in the locker room?

SMITH: "I feel great. I still feel like I've got a lot of bounce, a lot of pep in my step. In fact it's almost like more of a challenge. I love coming out and keeping up and trying to beat the young guys. It's fun to me. It's a challenge. I really enjoy this time because of that. Lifestyle has changed and so for me I love coming here to camp and I do get a lot of time with the guys. I get a lot of time with the young guys that if we were staying back in Kansas City I wouldn't be able to get."

Q: You have a rookie quarterback in here, what does that do to you to get you going a little bit – anything?

SMITH: "I just don't think it's just the rookie thing. Because we've had rookies in here before. I think you want a high quality, competitive quarterback. Obviously when you're drafting a guy that early you're hoping he's bringing that quality. There is an unwritten, unsaid and un-talked about deal. When the quarterback is really good, then it's really competitive and we do compete in everything. We do all the time, we keep score in everything. The better everyone is then I think that's just going to make everyone better, myself included. Like I said it's about the quality. Certainly Pat (Mahomes) fits that. The kid is really talented. I think the quality of the room - when that's always getting better I think that's a good thing."




Q: Some of the things we saw on Twitter about attendance and OTA's, did that bother you or what's your reaction to that?

BERRY: "Me and Tamba (Hali), I didn't hear about any of that on social. I heard it when I got here. I just wanted to talk to him about it because me and Tamba always had that type of relationship. Plus I don't want to hear that from different people. I want to hear it straight from the source. We talked about it and he told me what he felt and we're good."

Q: What made you feel ok? What was the message that was conveyed that made you feel all right?

BERRY: "I just respect Tamba. Outside of all the stuff that was whatever put on social, I respect him as a human being and I felt like coming to him, man-to-man and talking about it and hearing it from his side of it. He was straight up and honest with me. He's always been straight up and honest with me. He's always been straight up with me since I've been in the league."

Q:He didn't back off in his feeling that you should have been at OTA's? 

BERRY: "We didn't even get into that. We just talked about how he felt about the whole situation and how it happened. Like I said, we're good."

Q: Do you think those thoughts are just his desire to win? 

BERRY: "He's competitive – Tamba is competitive he just wants to make plays. He wants to help the team anyway possible. I feel like if he's on the field, he's going to give everything he has. That's always been him since I've been here and you can't do anything but respect that." 

Q: You're one of the team leaders. There's no reaction by media and fans when there's not perfect attendance like by you, Justin (Houston) and Marcus (Peters) in OTA's. What made your decision not to come?

BERRY: "Everybody's story is different. I can't really get into why everybody is here and not here. It is what it is. We all work hard, of course we want to be here with our teammates and stuff like that. But everybody's situation is different."

Q: What did you feel last year close to the season that it would be your year a little bit? Some of those games you guys won and then the way it ended, I know it was tough for all of you. What gives you hope that you're going to be ready to take that final jump this year? 

BERRY: "Just learning. We learn from mistakes, we learn from failure. We correct them. Hopefully we can just get in, learn about those situations that we had last year and we already know that it comes down to a few plays a game. So it's about treating every play whether it's in practice or a walk-through, like it's going to be a big one."

Q: What was your reaction to John Dorsey's departure? 

BERRY: "I didn't really have one. It is what it is. You can't really put anything past anything in this business. You think somebody here and they can be gone the next day."

Q: Did you have a good relationship with him? 

BERRY: "We were straight." 

Q: There was some sense of the players out there who weren't draftees of John Dorsey that they were treated differently than his drafted players. Did you have any feelings along those lines?

BERRY: "I can't really speak on that." 

Q: What was today like? You don't get to put on any pads until Sunday, but was today just an appetizer for the pads? Or is this just the first official day?

BERRY: "We just want to use every opportunity to get ready for those games and those challenges down the road. So whether it's a walk-through or a lighter day or a conditioning test you want to make sure you're progressing in the right direction. So anytime we're out here on the field you want to make the best of it." 

Q: Did it feel good to get going on the first official day? 

BERRY: "Always."

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