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What We Learned from Thursday's Media Availability

Mark Donovan, Anthony Sherman and Mitch Morse spoke with the media on Thursday


Q:Where do you stand as far as negotiations for next year for camp?

DONOVAN: "You know, I said earlier that we have really enjoyed camp. Every year has gotten a little bit better. We are in the last year of our extension and after that we have two optional extensions. We will do what we always do. We will wait until the end of camp and sit down and talk to Dr. Vartabedian from the university. We will go through all the things that went well and the things that we want to change, and we will figure out next year. Our intention is to come back. It has been a great experience for us. We had a couple of things we wanted to change a couple years ago and the university over delivered on that. I mentioned earlier that every single minute of camp is critical to us on football operations. These guys understand that. The little things behind the scenes that nobody sees and nobody knows about that may seem like the smallest thing, after a couple years of understanding how we work, the university understands that fully now. They jump right in and Dr. Vartabedian leads that team. They get it done and this is critical to us."

Q:How much to the decision to stay or not stay is a football decision?

DONOVAN: "Football is obviously the priority with that decision, so Andy has got to feel like it is the right thing. Veach has to feel like it is the right decision for our organization. You are seeing that across the league, the trend is more and more teams are going away from this setup. But you are also seeing teams that have done this for 50-plus years and they are continuing this thing. Andy loves it. I have talked directly to him about it. Brett likes it. He likes the fact that we get away and get together. It means a lot to the players. You heard it from Alex the other day. Alex has been in the league a long time and he looks forward to this and he sees the value of getting away and really focusing on the game. That goes back to what I said earlier, that every minute is critical, not just every minute on the practice field, but those minutes together in a meeting, those minutes walking back and forth from the cafeteria that you don't really get if you are not in this kind of environment. That builds bonds, that builds relationships and that builds communication and we think that really does matter."

Q:If all things were even, would you lean in a decision between staying in KC or coming up to St. Joseph or are you looking at other options?

DONOVAN: "You know us well enough to know that we are always looking at options. We, obviously, have looked at a bunch of different options. There are options out there. We like it here. We like the relationship. We like the efficiency. We like the familiarity and consistency, so I think it would be tough for somebody to come in and wow us and take it away from here. The going home thing, we will look at. We look at it every year. We talk to all of the teams out there that do it each way. As you see when we are traveling, we are talking to the other teams about a lot of things. This is one of the things we always talk about in the front end of the season. How did camp go? What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages? But we think there are a lot of advantages here."

Q:Is the money equal by doing it here than doing camp at home?

DONOVAN: "Well, there are so many variables in that question. One of the big advantages of this setup is that you are in a preexisting dorm setup with a cafeteria. The services we need to operate 24/7 are here. When you leave that environment, that structural environment, then you are dealing with, 'OK, what if you house guys in a hotel for two weeks, what challenges does that create? What opportunities does that create? What costs does that create? How do you feed them in a hotel versus a cafeteria, the set for that?' All of those things factor in."

Q:What was it like from your first year at Missouri Western till now?

DONOVAN:* *"So, it took a couple years from both sides to understand how we work. An NFL team coming in for two critical weeks of an organization, we are pretty high maintenance. It is important to us. And we have a lot of people, as you see, that are staff members here the entire time. Whether it is IT, whether it is training, security, whether it is our merchandise operations, our fan interaction operation, this is critical for us. They are all looking for every single efficiency. It took us a couple years to get used to that. And we have to understand how the university works. They are operating a campus that has far more than just us. So we have to understand how their resources are allocated. That took a couple years."

Q:Can you talk about how many total people have come up from the Chiefs?

DONOVAN:* *"I would be guessing to be honest with you. I would tell you there are a lot more Kansas City Chiefs employees in St. Joe than there are in Kansas City right now."

Q:How important is it to nurture Chiefs Kingdom and a fan base in this region as opposed to when it was in River Falls, Wis.?

DONOVAN:* *"That is one of the biggest benefits, when the decision was made to move back from River Falls, the opportunity to get closer to the Kingdom. And the strategic advantage of being in St. Joe. The northern stretch of St. Joe reaches further north for us for a lot of people. It makes it more efficient for them, makes it easier for them to travel in the summer to get here. The setup is easier. I went to River Falls my first year working with the Chiefs organization. And being a half hour outside of Minneapolis felt weird. Now, when we started up there, we had the Cheese League and we had other teams up there and we were able to scrimmage and do other things. That made a lot of sense. But bringing it back to the fan base, creating an environment that was more easily accessible to the fans was a big driver in moving back to Missouri."

Q:What would your message be to fans that are on the fence about coming up to camp to meet the players?

DONOVAN:* *"One of the biggest advantages and one of the biggest reasons to get here is the access. Seeing the players in this environment, you have both extremes. You've got the high-competitive level of guys trying to make the team, of guys fighting for jobs, and the intensity of that. And then you have the access of seeing guys up close and personal. You can't do this anywhere else. And seeing them after practice, and this comes from Andy, every single practice we are signing autographs with at least a position group. I believe on Friday we are signing the full team. When Andy talks to the players tonight, when Clark talks to the players, he reiterates, they both reiterate, how important our fans are to our success. And the importance of things like this and the opportunities to get up close and personal. So from the fans perspective, you are standing six feet away. You can't do that just about anywhere else."

Q:How long does a negotiation for a training camp location take and what is the final date where you have to make a decision?

DONOVAN:* *"So the biggest negotiation is the first negotiation. Trying to change from River Falls to St. Joe took a lot of time, years, in the working. And working through all the details with, honestly, two organizations that didn't know each other very well at that time. I negotiated the last extension and that was more direct. We knew each other, we knew it was important. We didn't have to spend as much time going through 'here's why having the field fully accessible is really important to us.' They understood that. And they understood the value of it to us. I don't expect the ability to take the option to take more than five or ten minutes, to be honest with you, because it is part of the negotiation. So, to answer your question, the first negotiation is the toughest and then once you are into it, it is a lot easier."

Q:So is there no set line for when you have to know what you are doing by this time?

DONOVAN:* *"Well, we will know what we are doing for next year within three weeks after camp this year. And that is what we did with the extension as well."

Q:What is left in the contract?

DONOVAN:* *"Two one-year options after this season."




Q:How would you describe today's outfit?

SHERMAN: "I do not know. I actually talked to Billy Butler about it and he decided that we should try to up last year, so I tried to up it with the leather jacket and the mullet."

Q:How much time was spent picking this outfit?

SHERMAN: "Maybe 30 minutes."

Q:What is your favorite part about it?

SHERMAN: "Just the patches on this jacket. Look at all of this stuff."

Q:What inspired you?

SHERMAN: "I don't really know exactly. He just said you should do that and I was like, 'Yeah, let me think about it.' And then about an hour later, I was like, 'Yeah, OK. I am definitely going to do it.' Ordered it on Amazon."

Q: What made you rock that hairstyle?

SHERMAN: "I think it actually looks pretty sweet. I just wish I actually had the hair to actually grow it long enough to do that."

Q:How does this set the tone for this training camp?

SHERMAN: "I mean, I don't really know how it sets the tone. I just wanted to be kind of funny and lighten up everyone's mood before we start the hard times of training camp."

Q:How excited are you to get back on the field and see your teammates?

SHERMAN: "Really excited. It is like Christmas morning. You wake up and you come up to camp. You see everyone. You hang out and then tomorrow starts the real stuff."

Q:Do you think this is becoming a tradition and guys will see you and comment on it?

SHERMAN: "Well, exactly. I have to try and one-up myself from the year before so every year I try to do something different."

Q:Do you try to recruit somebody to do it with you like Alex?

SHERMAN: "No, I saw Alex's outfit and I don't know what he was wearing on the lower half, but I wouldn't do something like that."

Q:Not the man capris for you?

SHERMAN: "No, not the man capris."

Q:Do you take suggestions from your teammates on what you should rock?

SHERMAN: "Oh, absolutely. I take multiple suggestions from a lot of other people."

Q:Who did you speak to about this?

SHERMAN: "Billy Butler"

Q:Is the hairstyle going to stay for a while then?

SHERMAN: "I wish it could, but it is just the headband holding it up right now. It is not my hair. I wish I could do this. I would do it if I could. For sure."

Q:Do you look forward to coming here every year?

SHERMAN: "If I was the head coach, this is the exact same thing I would do. It is awesome to get away. Get around your buddies all day, every day. Kind of get in your routine. It builds that team chemistry for December and January to really push and grab the finish."

Q:Have you grown closer to guys at camp that you wouldn't normally talk to because you are around each other?

SHERMAN: "Absolutely, you are secluded from everyone else. You are up at camp. You eat lunch and eat breakfast, you eat everything at the same spot and you practice every day. We don't have many tables to share so they are always full and you just jump in and sit with anyone and strike up a conversation and it really builds team chemistry."

Q:Does it take you back to your college days and the comradery of those times?

SHERMAN: "I mean, I don't think it necessarily matters that it is on a college campus. I think that just getting away and going anywhere and staying with a group of guys in one area and being with them 24/7 is definitely the reason."


Q:What is it like to be back?

MORSE:"It's good. It is time to get back. We had these six weeks off to decompress and get our mind focused on what our end goal is this year, which is a Super Bowl. We got some time with the family just to rejuvenate from OTAs and now we are ready to rock."

Q:What does it mean to you coming in here as you have evolved into this team?

MORSE:"It is always exciting. This is my third training camp here. As you grow, your role on the team grows, it evolves. Every team has a different identify so these first few weeks of pads is finding your identity on this team as (the team) finds its identity of itself."

Q:Do you feel like a veteran now?

MORSE:"No, I don't know if I ever will. There are always nuances of the game I am learning and trying to catch up on so I definitely feel a little more comfortable. My footnote is up here and now we are ready to build on that."

Q:Does the offseason seem to get shorter?

MORSE:"No, you definitely understand how the dynamic of the offseason works. The first year was just kind of a cluster, you're thrown into this time you have never had before and now you really get to utilize that time with friends and family. It was time to get back to football and everyone around us knows we have something special going on this year."

Q:What were your feelings when you found out about John Dorsey?

MORSE:"That was definitely a shock for me. I had a good personal relationship with Mr. Dorsey. It is a business. We are extremely excited about Mr. Veach here. He is a great man and he is excited. He definitely knows what to do. As John goes, he is very close friend and I owe him a lot for giving his faith in me. I wish him the best and now we are focusing on training camp here."

Q:As a line, where can you guys take that next step?

MORSE:"Continuity. Taking those little nuances of the game and each play, kind of integrating that and understanding what we need to do."

Q:Coach Reid talks about the offense taking several years to learn, is that the case with the offensive line?

MORSE:"Yeah, I think it takes practice to learn how to play with each other. In regards to how one might complement another's technique or so on and so forth and understanding the intricacies of each play and throughout the playbook. It is a challenge. It is part of the challenge of being a professional. But Coach puts a lot of faith in you. You are a professional and you are being paid to do this and there is a lot of trust that needs to be earned. Right now, we are going to reinstall everything again. It will be the hundredth time but you always pick something up. This is the good part of football, you get to relearn it and learn some new things."

Q:Do you think that this is a cohesive group that is ready to take that next step?

MORSE:"Absolutely. We are able to bring everyone back, which is rare in this league. We are understanding that now is the time. We can't take anything for granted and we can't take any days off. It is exciting. It will be a testament of character and will to come to work every day with a purpose and we are excited to do that."

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