Chiefs Wrap Up Camp at Missouri Western State University

The AFC West champion Chiefs experienced a crash course in the NFL during their three weeks at Missouri Western State University.

In many ways, it was a remedial course.

Sure, the rookies had to acclimate themselves to the rigors of professional football after the lockout wiped out offseason team activities.

The veterans had to get back in shape, the newcomers had to learn the playbook and the coaching staff had to gel after offensive coordinator Charlie Weis departed for Florida.

But they also learned things such as how to come out of the tunnel for pregame warm-ups, how to find the plane for charter flights, how to dress in public settings and how to act in the team hotel.

The idea was that by putting everyone on a level playing field, from first-year guys trying to make the squad to high-priced stars such as Tamba Hali, the Chiefs could emerge as a more cohesive team.

As they break training camp and head back to Kansas City, where they’ll resume practice after Friday night’s preseason game at Baltimore, coach Todd Haley feels content with the work they’ve done.

“Training camp is training camp, you know?” Haley said Wednesday. “All things aside, it’s a chance for the team to kind of come together and really become a team, because each year is a new group of guys. There are always changes. It’s never the same. This is a new group of guys.”

Haley spent more time than usual – and perhaps more time than any other team in the league – on things such as preparation and conditioning during the time in St. Joseph, Mo.

The Chiefs hardly hit each other the first two weeks of practice, and even after a 25-0 loss to Tampa Bay last weekend, they’ve kept contact to a minimum.

It’s all been part of “the plan,” which Haley and the rest of the coaches have repeatedly brought up without ever disclosing details. Nevertheless, players seem to have bought into it.

“No one likes losing, but at the same time we understand it is preseason,” safety Eric Berry said, referring to the flop against the Buccaneers. “Like I said, Coach has a plan. He’s going to play us how he wants to play us, and we’re just going to keep doing whatever he puts in place.”


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