The first sign of summer for the Kansas City Chiefs arrived Tuesday morning in St. Joseph.
Workers started moving the team’s gear from the Chiefs’ training facility in Kansas City to the site of the team’s training camp for the fourth consecutive year — the Missouri Western State University campus. While rookies and quarterbacks don’t report to St. Joseph until Monday and the full team three days later, a lot of effort goes into making sure the lockers inside the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex are ready.
The trucks arrived on campus just before noon and unloaded the contents of players’ lockers, tackling dummies, blocking pads and other equipment that will be used in camp.
“Basically, we pack their lockers for them,” Chiefs’ equipment manager Allen Wright said. “That includes everything from toiletries to pictures, and I noticed (linebacker) Tamba Hali, even his pillow was in there.”
Among the gear unloaded were shoes ... lots and lots of shoes, 1,600 of them, to be exact. Other items included 1,000 towels and 300 footballs.
Entering his 31st training camp with the Chiefs, Mr. Wright knows the value of preparation, especially in past seasons with a lengthy trip to Wisconsin. Having settled into a bit of routine with St. Joseph, he’s also glad to have Arrowhead Stadium right down the interstate.
“We just have a bunch of checklists we have to go over,” he said. “I think we were more diligent in our checklist when we were at River Falls, because we knew we couldn’t go back. But it’s certainly nice to be this close to home.”
The past three years all involved difficult timelines for officials at Missouri Western.
In 2010, the Chiefs were making their St. Joseph training camp debut. The following year included a troublesome work stoppage that went into the summer. A head-coaching change during the 2011 season led to a rearranged schedule last year.
A familiarity with adjusting on the go made this year’s preparations easier, with a full month between the schedule announcement and the start of training camp. From practice field work, facility prep and housing arrangements for players and staff inside Scanlon Hall, most of the work is done.
Just a few more truck deliveries of the Chiefs’ gear from Kansas City in the next couple days and Missouri Western’s campus will be ready for report day on Monday.
“The schedule being released so early helped us,” Missouri Western athletic director Kurt McGuffin said. “Any time you are preparing for an arrival of this magnitude — they bring in a lot of stuff — having a schedule really helps us.