Rather than kicking off the season in St. Joseph, Missouri, the Kansas City Chiefs began their #RunItBack tour this week as players reported for training camp at the Chiefs’ home facility.
As Kansas City tries to become the first team since the 2003-05 New England Patriots to repeat as Super Bowl champions, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said in a video conference with reporters Thursday he is trying to bring the energy into the new season.
“I think it just starts with guys like Patrick [Mahomes], myself, Frank Clark just setting the tempo,” Mathieu said. “I’m extremely motivated. I feel like there’s so much more that we can really achieve on an individual level, on a team level.”
Before the pandemic, Kansas City was set to bring 20 of its 22 starters from the Super Bowl back. Now, the Chiefs have taken some blows to their squad as they are dealing with the COVID-19 opt-outs of running back Damien Williams and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
In response to Duvernay-Tardif’s opt-out, the Chiefs signed guard Kelechi Osemele to a one-year deal to bolster the offensive line unit. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the likely favorite to replace Williams.
While the offense sees most of the praise of the club, Mathieu is motivated to make sure the defensive unit is held in the same regard.
“I feel like defensively, we still aren’t talked about in the breath that I would like, so I’m extremely motivated to kind of keep my guys chipping away at it,” Mathieu said. “We’re constantly trying to set a standard that everybody’s going to respect, so I’m hoping some of the young guys we added and some of the veterans we’ve added can kind of help bring that swagger to the room.”