The Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up for another season, and that comes with sky-high expectations for a possible Super Bowl run. After falling short of their ultimate goal last season, everyone involved is taking this year's training camp in stride with even more importance. That includes team Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, who spoke towards the end of the club's first week of full-team practice in St. Joseph, MO.
After Friday's practice, Hunt addressed many topics related to the Chiefs. The most pressing ones included the relationship between Bayern Munich and the Chiefs, the importance of voting and the Chiefs' current training camp residency at Missouri Western State University. Another subject, however, was the camaraderie and relationship between quarterback Patrick Mahomes, head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach. When asked about how much communication Mahomes has in regards to the team's roster construction, Hunt praised the face of his franchise.
“Patrick (Mahomes) is maturing as a player and as a leader," Hunt said. "And he’s somebody who very early on took a leadership role in our locker room. He and (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid and General Manager Brett Veach have a very special relationship. I wouldn’t say that I speak to him a lot about the composition of the roster, but I know Coach Reid and Brett keep him in the loop and listen to his opinion. He’s very mature, really beyond his years and sort of sees the big picture so they’re glad to have his input. And obviously given his importance to the team, I think it’s important that he have a word or say in the decisions we are making.”
If there was ever an offseason for Mahomes to play even a relatively minor role in the Chiefs' roster-building strategy, it was this one. Veach has made several bold moves over the past few months, including parting ways with veteran defensive pieces Tyrann Mathieu and Anthony Hitchens. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Tyreek Hill was traded in a blockbuster deal with the Miami Dolphins and supporting receivers Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle departed via free agency. Things look quite a bit different now on both sides of the ball, so it would make perfect sense if Mahomes had anything to do with that on a small scale.
Despite not making it all the way to the Super Bowl last season, Kansas City has played in the AFC Championship Game in every single season Mahomes has been the full-time starter for the team. Only one Vince Lombardi Trophy has been hoised from that stretch, but making it that deep into the postseason is no easy feat. That comes with hard work and talent, and it also comes with elements such as dedication, trust and thorough communication at all levels of the organization. According to Hunt, the communication channels between quarterback, coach and front office are alive and well.
"I know (Patrick Mahomes) he and Brett have very frequent communication because when I’m speaking to Brett on a weekly basis he has had a conversation with Pat on something that’s important to the team," Hunt said. "I think that communication between the two of them is very unique and special. And obviously, he and Andy are talking all the time. I think their conversations are more about scheme and what we can do to get better on the field, what we can do to take on a specific opponent. But they have a very close relationship.
"And then I just go back to the fact that we have such a good relationship between our head coach and GM. So, you’ve got the three most important people associated with the team that are very close together which I think is part of why we’ve been so successful over that last four years.”
Many are considering this season a "soft rebuild" or "rebuild-on-the-fly" for the Chiefs. Regardless of whether that turns out to be true, Mahomes and company will undoubtedly be challenged time and time again over the next several months. If there's one thing that figures to remain consistent, though, it's the bond between Mahomes, Reid and Veach that Hunt recognizes is one-of-a-kind. As training camp continues, that's at least one thing working in the Chiefs' favor.