And it was music to the ears of head coach Todd Haley:
“Wherever Coach Haley needs me to be, that’s where I’m going to be … wherever he puts me, you’re going to get the same guy … whatever I’m told to do is what I am going to do …. Do whatever I can to make the team better and make the team at this point … I’m just trying to make the team and learn the playbook … whatever the coaches want me to do, I will do.”
All seven of the Chiefs draft choices spoke to the media for a few moments during the rookie camp, and all of them repeatedly used words like compete, opportunity, willing to contribute, do anything I’m asked. It almost made you think they were scripted.
The final practice of the Chiefs rookie camp was outside Sunday morning as Todd Haley and his coaching staff put 32 players through the workout, wrapping up the three-day session.
“It was very, very productive,” Haley said afterwards. “I’m excited about these guys. I feel comfortable that they understand how important the next couple weeks are so they keep
Under NFL rules, the rookies can’t return to the Chiefs facility until May 16th or the day their college holds graduation. All seven draft choices and 11 college free agents will be back and on the field for the team’s first OTA session on Monday, May 17th.
There was plenty of teaching and learning going down at the camp, and not just by the players.
“There was a lot of learning on both sides,” Haley said. “We are chomping at the bit as a staff … we now have a couple weeks to get prepared and get our ducks in a row and be ready when OTAs start.”
First-round S Eric Berry and second-round CB Javier Arenas were both active in this practice after sitting out Saturday afternoon. The Chiefs do not talk about injuries until the regular season, but Haley allowed that there were no major problems for either player.
Bob Karmelowicz, a nine-year assistant coach with the Chiefs passed away on Saturday night at a hospice in the Detroit area.
Karmelowicz was part of the coaching staffs of Marty Schottenheimer, Gunther Cunningham and Dick Vermeil from 1997 through 2005. It was the longest stint with one team in his 18 years in the NFL.
It was in 2000 that Karm was diagnosed with a rare cancer in his sinus area. At the time, he said only two out of every million Americans got that type of cancer, but it was the most frequently diagnosed cancer in China.
“Old ladies leaning over woks for 50 or 60 years inhaling the smoke and the oils get it all the time,” Karmelowicz said in ‘00. “There’s only two things you can do with this, either you give up or you fight.”
Smiling, joking and unusually upbeat, coach Todd Haley declared Kansas City’s three-day rookie minicamp a huge success.
The demanding and oft-critical Haley said Sunday he was encouraged across-the-board with what he saw and heard from his seven draftees and a handful of undrafted rookie free agents.
“I’m excited. These guys have a good energy about them. There’s some good personalities in this group, which is important. You’ve got to have some personality on teams. And I would say I like that about these guys. It’s nice, pleasant to be around these guys. It doesn’t appear too big right now for them, which is a good sign.”
The drafted players who were allowed to be questioned one-by-one for a few minutes by a room full of media all seemed similarly pumped.
“It’s been exciting. It’s been a wonderful feeling,” said rookie safety Kendrick Lewis.
As much as the Chiefs might hope for one last growth spurt, or order Dexter McCluster to burn hours in the weight room, there’s a fact he has come to terms with.
“I can tell you one thing,” McCluster, a rookie slot receiver, said this weekend during Kansas City’s three-day rookie minicamp. “I’m 5-8 and 21 years old, so I don’t think I’m growing taller right now.”
The Chiefs drafted McCluster last weekend in the second round out of Mississippi. They like his speed and playmaking ability, and those skills remind observers of Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson and San Diego running back Darren Sproles. But like those players, it’s McCluster’s size that doesn’t seem a natural fit in the NFL.