Football is back!
Tamba Hali, Junior Hemingway, and Eric Kush talked yesterday about the start of training camp (which officially begins today) and their expectations. Here is some of what they had to say.
Q: What are your expectations coming into training camp – what is possible for this team?
HALI: “Our goals are set. There’s only one goal we set – to get to the championship game. That’s our mindset. We have to just take it a day at a time.”
Q: How do you build off of making the playoffs and making a big improvement from the year before?
HALI: “Taking it a day at a time. What happened in the past, you can’t do anything about it, we just have to build on it. Coming out here and working hard and listening to our coaches. They’re putting us in this position to have success again.”
Q: You brought it more than anyone else coming to camp – do you like bringing the comforts of home?
HALI: “Yes, these dorm rooms are the best we can have here in St. Joe. We just have to make it a little homey. We have to make sure we’re comfortable, we’re going to be out there in the heat.”
Q: How does Jamaal Charles potentially not being here affect you guys?
HALI: “Like coach said, we’re just worried about the guys that are here. The guys who show up, we’re going to play with them. We’ll leave that up to the general manager and the business side.”
Q: Where is Justin Houston’s mind at right now?
HALI: “From what I hear, he’s going to be here. We’re going to get it rocking again – Sack City. Whatever happened in the offseason, we put all of that behind us. He’s here to play football just like every other man. That’s our concern – get to that quarterback.”
Q: Talk about the lineage of pass rushers in Kansas City, from the Hall of Famers to you guys.
HALI: “I’m starting to take pride in what the Chiefs organization has done with drafting guys who can get after the passer. Each year we’re bringing in better guys. To put together a group like what they’re trying to do, coach has all of us trying to get after the passer; it’s going to help our team. We want to enjoy doing it while we’re playing together.”
Q: Have you tried to impart the lineage to guys like Dee Ford and Justin Houston?
HALI: “We barely talk about the past, but we know the history and the guys who have been here. It would be nice to continue to live up to that hype – Neil Smith and those guys. They’re always going to be proud of us if we’re doing what they did. Again, it’s a new year; it’s about winning to us. The more guys we can get to the quarterback, it’s going to alleviate a lot of stress.”
Q: Are you excited?
HALI: “Yes, going into my ninth year, I’m very excited. To keep doing it with one team, I can’t ask for any more. It’s been a dream come true. I’m living the American Dream, as they say. Again, this is a business job and a production business. We have to get out there in the heat and get ready to win some football games.”
Q: What were you thinking walking up to the dorms today?
HALI: “Our focus level, just getting ready, blocking out all the distraction around us and starting to focus on what’s at hand. In two weeks, we’re going to play a game. In a month, we’re going to be playing games that are going to be counted towards the season. It’s a different year, things are a little different, some distractions, but for the guys that are here, we just need to continue to focus and get better on what we’re doing.”
Q: If Jamaal Charles doesn’t show up, would there be any reason to worry about his state whenever he does return?
HALI: “Obviously we want everybody here. The reasoning for why he’s not here, that’s between the management and his camp. Until he gets here, we just have to roll with the punches and roll with the guys we have here.”
Q: What are you hoping to see from the rookies – Dee Ford in particular – tomorrow?
HALI: “Just enjoying their time while we’re doing it and putting the focus on the reason why we’re doing it. We’re going to have fun out here, but at the end of the day, we all remember what happened in that playoff game. That’s what has to carry us, the rookies, the veterans; they have to carry all of us throughout the year.”