The wait is over. It's here.
While the quarterbacks, rookies and a few select veterans working their way back from injury have been practicing for the past three days on the campus of Missouri Western State University, the rest of the team reported Friday afternoon for the start of Kansas City Chiefs training camp.
They will all take the field together Saturday afternoon for the first team practice of training camp. It's open to the public and begins at 3:30 p.m.
In many ways, this is the start of the 2016 season.
Although the team has technically been working out and preparing since mid-April, the start of full team practices at training camp with Chiefs Kingdom cheering and in attendance is the unofficial start to the season.
"The main thing is that we get ourselves right and ready to play," head coach Andy Reid said of what he's looking for from his team at training camp. "We're going to get out there and work. Nothing comes easy if you're going to win the Lombardi Trophy."
In 44 days, on September 11, the team will take the field against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium in the regular-season opener, but according to Reid, it's the work done between now and then that matters—the task at hand, which is simply getting better every day.
It's the thought process that helped pull this team out of a 1-5 hole to start the season last year.
"They understand the level that you have to play at to get where you got last year and potentially beyond that," Reid added. "We weren't good enough. We didn't come back with the Lombardi Trophy, so you have to take it up another notch."
Key Upcoming Matchups
9/11: Home Opener vs. San Diego Chargers – GET TICKETS
10/23: Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saints – GET TICKETS
While Reid's camps have been described as some of the toughest in the NFL, the end result of all that work has been beneficial to the organization over the past three years.
They have three straight winning seasons, two playoff berths and the first postseason victory in more than two decades, and in many ways, the hope of continuing that trend and achieving even more is derived from the work that begins on Saturday afternoon.
"It's probably the most difficult experience physically and mentally that you're going to go through," Larry Duvernay-Tardif, the third year offensive lineman, said of training camp. "But at the same time, when you come out of it, you're really proud of yourself and the things you're able to accomplish in such a small amount of time."
The Kansas City Chiefs veteran players report to training camp
Outside of the sweat equity these guys will earn over the next three weeks on the field and in the weight room, the team will become closer and develop their bond during camp.
"I love going away," quarterback Alex Smith said of training camp. "I'd never done it before coming here, but it really is a good time for us to come together as a team. Whether it's on the practice field, in the cold tub, hanging out here in our downtime, eating meals together, you don't normally get that time.
"For us, this month to come together as a team—I really look forward to it."