December 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebackerTamba Hali
(91) celebrates after recovering the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Wednesday was day two of OTAs for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs made Tamba Hali and Dontari Poe available to the media after practice for questions. Here’s some of what they had to say.
Q: What’s your reaction whenever you hear people are talking about you being in shape?
HALI: “I like it. They don’t talk about me. They need something to talk about, so I like it.”
Q: How important is this time right now as you’re getting ready for the season?
HALI: “This is very important being out here and being around the team. The coaches are adding different plays in our systems, so it’s very important, but with the guys out here, the camaraderie is very important.”
Q: Does it affect your workout that Justin Houston isn’t out here?
HALI: “Just have to find another guy right now until he comes back. It doesn’t affect me that much. I miss him, that’s about it.”
Q: Is he coming back?
HALI: “As far as I know, he will. We’re good friends. He’s coming.”
Q: Why is he not here?
HALI: “I don’t know why he’s not here. I hear the rumors, but that’s between him and whoever.”
Q: What rumors?
HALI: “You guys write the rumors. I don’t know. Whatever his situation is, I just pray that everything works out for him and he’s back and we get this defense back to where we need it to be.”
Q: You’d like to see him here though.
Q: What’s your reaction whenever people say that Dee Ford will take over when you’re done?
HALI: “That’s great. As an older guy, I need to make sure to step my game up and make sure I can play a few more years here and at the same time, knowing this kid is coming in and he’ll be able to help us. We were in situations last year only having one pass rusher in the game and when two guys are in the game it’s kind of deadly. We add a third and hopefully we can get all of us on the field.”
Q: How do you navigate that relationship with a guy who may eventually take your job?
HALI: “Oh, I have to help this guy. The Chiefs have been loyal to me and kept me here for a long time even when I had three sacks in my career. They still believed in my talent and kept me around. The best thing I can do with the knowledge that I’ve acquired is to pass it onto these guys. We want to win a championship however we can. We have to share the knowledge and build on what we have right now.”
Q: How many more years do you have in you, do you think?
HALI: “It’s a year-to-year thing for me. It’s all about winning this championship. I haven’t been that focused on winning a championship, but I wish I knew the reality right now of where I am in my career. You get older and guys like Tony Gonzalez taking off and looking to win a championship. It’s very important right now that our focus is to win a championship. We can’t sell ourselves short; we have the best coach in the game. I mean, come on.”
Q: When does that mindset come about?
HALI: “I’m getting older.”
Q: But it’s different than when you first got into the league?
HALI: “Yeah, I mean I felt like Dee Ford. I come out here and run around and chase everything around and go have fun with my family, do whatever I want. Now when I’m done here, I have to sleep and then go workout again. It’s a process and I want to give myself a chance to be able to help our team. All the guys should be doing the same and just humbling ourselves and realizing how hard it is to get to the playoffs.”
Q: Does everybody share your sense of urgency?
HALI: “I know a few guys that do and I hope everybody feels the same way. Honestly, we really should be able to pass this onto the younger guys as fast as we can, because they have to understand that this thing is not for long. We have a little time here to enjoy ourselves, but at the same time, in the same sense be able to accomplish a goal. I think we have all of the pieces that we need here and I think Andy (Reid) and his staff do a tremendous job in preparing us and we just have to be dedicated and committed throughout the year while we’re here.”
Q: Does it frustrate you that two of your teammates aren’t here working on that?
HALI: “That will work itself out. The guys that are here, we have to make sure they’re getting ready. I have to make sure I’m getting ready. Those guys understand what’s going on. They’ve got to be ready. You have to come here and play. Wherever they are, they’re still doing the necessary things they need to do to be ready when they get here.”
Q: How gut-wrenching was the playoff loss?
HALI: “I think that’s the worst I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’ve never been a part of something like that. We know the type of team we have and what we can accomplish. Maybe we took some things for granted and that one will sit with us throughout the year and throughout the games. That will sit with us because we definitely have something to prove. To lose a game like that – our fans know it, our players know it, the guys that have been here and the coaches, it’s hard for them to continue to do what they’re doing knowing that they put so much in and how we accomplished so much at the point and things turn around like that. It will sit with us and help us go through this season.”
Q: Do you think people will remind each other of that loss throughout the season?
HALI: “Yeah, I mean keeping our guys here, our core guys that are here, that stuff hurts. We play the game and we get tired and go home and we may forget about it, but we know how our fans feel about that and we know how the town feels about that. That’s something they’ve been looking forward to and I believe everybody felt we had it, even the guys on the team felt like we had it.”
Q: How many hours do you put in on top of the hours here?
HALI: “I’ve done this a long time and the only way I know how to compete in this league – I don’t come with the talent that these guys come with – is to work at it. I go home, and I could be doing my music, but I understand what’s at hand, we probably have about 60 days left until we’re sitting at camp. Every day counts from the dieting to the work, so I put in an extra couple of hours, two hours in the evening with my trainer just to stay on top of things and to not slack.”
Q: What have you seen from Dee Ford?
HALI: “His first step. If anybody reminds you of Derrick Thomas, that kid should pretty much remind you of Derrick Thomas’ first step. He gets off the ball so fast, it’s scary. I just kept rewinding it yesterday just looking at his first step and it’s almost like as soon as the ball snaps, he’s with it. I don’t know if he times it, but his first step is incredible.”