Morris Claiborne didn’t hesitate to discuss his suspension during his first press conference as a Kansas City Chief.
The cornerback, who signed a one-year $1.5 million contract with the Chiefs late last week, will miss the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
He admits the situation put himself, his agent and NFL teams who pursued him in a hard spot. In the end, it was the Chiefs who gave him a shot.
“They knew what I was going through,” Claiborne said. “They wanted to help me through it. That was a part of the reason that really made my mind up as I wanted to come here. I could see that these guys not only care about me as a football player, but they care about me as a man and a person.”
The former sixth-overall pick will not be able to play until Week 5 against the Colts, leaving time for him to adjust to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defense.
Claiborne received his playbook over the weekend, and had the chance to meet with members of the coaching staff for the first time on Sunday.
The end goal is to insert him into a lineup of cornerbacks that includes Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward and Kendall Fuller.
“You know, once I learn this defense, just come in and take over,” Claiborne said. “That’s my mindset. Just come in and play. I don’t feel like I got nothing to lose and everything to gain in this situation. I feel like I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
Claibourne is entering his eighth season in the NFL, having spent time with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets.
Chiefs Andy Reid has competed against him in the past, and vouched for his ability to compete.
“He’s a great solid player,” Reid said. “You can’t get enough of those guys. Especially in that position… Brett (Veach) studied him like crazy and felt good about him. We rolled with it.”
Claiborne missed the final game of the 2018-19 season due to a shoulder injury, and played in 47 of a 80 games during the first five years of his career.
He did not participate in 11-on-11 drills during training camp on Monday, but was in the mix as the right cornerback with the No. 2 offense.
He also saw action during defensive drills, pairing up with with Kendall Fuller. The plan is to ease him in as time progresses.
“We’re just going to ease him in on this thing and see how he does and get a feel of where he’s at,” Reid said. “But, he came out and worked and I thought it was good work.”
Reid said it is unlikely that Claiborne will see action when the Chiefs travel to Pittsburgh for the team’s second preseason game on Saturday.
Despite this, Claiborne plans to find ways to get better through the help of his coaches and teammates.
“I’ve been in this league going on eight years now, you never get enough,” Claiborne said. “You always learn new things each and every day. Everybody can teach you something, even a rookie coming in can teach you something. You just got to be open-minded. That’s how I am.”