Reading between the lines of Brett Veach’s hiring as Chiefs GM

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Head Coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 9, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Head Coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 9, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

We can tell some things by reading between the lines of the  prepared statements of Clark Hunt and Brett Veach.

The Kansas City Chiefs ended their search for a new General Manager on Monday with the announced hiring of Brett Veach, an internal promotion for the team’s former co-Director of Player Personnel. It ends a few weeks of searching after his predecessor, John Dorsey, was let go on June 22.

At the announced hiring, the Chiefs presented two statements, no doubt prepped and pored over by their public relations staff, from both team owner Clark Hunt and Veach himself. Each statement is very professional and polished and also very positive filled with great quotes for reporters to use to describe the hire. They’re exactly what strong press quotes are intended to provide for media and fans alike, communicating the confidence that everyone should have moving forward.

But reading between the lines a bit also reveals at least some things about the hire and process that wasn’t said. That’s not to say that there’s some great mystery revealed or secret sauce recipe uncovered. Rather there’s just some nuances that tell us a few things more than what the statements might reveal.

First, let’s read the statements together. Here’s what Clark Hunt had to say about hiring Brett Veach:

"“After a comprehensive search process, I am pleased to announce that we have hired Brett Veach to serve as the next General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs,” Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “Brett has a sharp football mind, a tremendous work ethic and a keen eye for finding talent. Over the last four seasons he’s played a critical role in building our football team. I look forward to working with him to continue to build on the strong foundation we have in place.”"

Here, there are already a few interesting points of note here, based on what is included and what is excluded. But let’s read on for Brett Veach’s statement to hear from the team’s communications in their entirety.

"“My family and I would like to extend our gratitude to Clark and the Hunt family for this incredible opportunity,” Veach said. “I am humbled and honored to serve as the General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. Over the last four seasons I’ve had the privilege to work alongside Andy Reid, John Dorsey and a great group of coaches and personnel staff. Together, we built a strong foundation of players that have helped us sustain success on the field. I’m looking forward to continuing our progress as we head into 2017.”"

Let’s read between the lines a bit, if we may.

  1. Hunt’s note describes this as a “comprehensive search process” from the beginning. Even here at AA, we’ve listed some concerns that the timing of this search might not yield the best results. Many teams might not make their executives available for interviews this close to the season. I also wrote a column asking what would be wrong with naming Veach as the interim until next winter when a full search could be conducted? Hunt’s first few words speak directly to that concern, saying that as the man ultimately in charge, he feels very comfortable with the level of the search conducted, calling it comprehensive. The time of year was not a factor for Hunt; he got his man, even in the middle of summer.
  2. Hunt gives no mention of two important names: Andy Reid and John Dorsey. Veach provides a reference to both. For Veach, it’s a nod to the impressive minds around him, a nice deferential move to honor those who he has had the privilege to learn from over the years. It’s a new hire acknowledging the shoulders he’s standing on or those who’ve gone before him (not in a morbid, mortal sort of tone). For Hunt, the omissions are glaring. The Chiefs have already moved on from Dorsey. He’s had his press conference and given a statement on the matter. Even further, there’s no mention of Reid, who is obviously still very much around and in power. Yet Hunt’s failure to mention anyone else makes it clear that the decision to hire Veach was his and his alone.
  3. This hire was all about continuity. Veach’s hire is certainly no surprise given he was named the frontrunner by local and national media almost immediately after Dorsey’s dismissal. However, Hunt’s statement especially makes it clear that his goal with this hire was to stay the course on the team’s current roster-building philosophies.This seems to confirm that Dorsey’s exit was personal, because hidden in the statements here are one nod after another to the professional work that Dorsey has done. The Chiefs have a “strong foundation.” There’s no need to clean house or conduct a major assessment for what is wrong. Instead the language here is “continue to build,” an admission that Dorsey’s professional work was good for the Chiefs and they want to maintain that level of success.
  4. Don’t worry about Veach’s experience level. Hunt uses a great phrase about Veach, saying he’s held a “critical role.” Only time will tell as to whether or not Veach has the same level of scouting acumen as his predecessory, since Dorsey will cast a long shadow in K.C. for the next few seasons. That said, Hunt is the one staking his team’s success on this hire and he believes wholeheartedly in Veach.