Chiefs reunite with Mahomes in Texas to start offseason

By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Editor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The new faces of the Kansas City Chiefs offense are getting to know each other in the hot Texas sun, rather than the cold Kansas City rain, after Andy Reid decided to make voluntary off-season workouts a virtual exercise this season.

Unlike his previous three decades of off-season work, Reid said Monday he encourages his players to participate in voluntary meetings — rather than attending the Chiefs’ practice facility in person — so they can continue their careers. workouts from anywhere in the country. more formal team activities next month.

“There are a number of guys here who are lifting,” Reid said, “but again, it’s all voluntary camps, all three phases.”

That hasn’t stopped a number of players from rallying around Patrick Mahomes in Texas, where the star quarterback is spending the offseason. Many of them are new faces the Chiefs added to the offense after trading All-Pro Tyreek Hill three times to the Dolphins and losing wide receivers Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle in free agency.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster are the biggest names Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has landed to help fill Hill’s void on offense. The Chiefs have also signed Ronald Jones II to assist at running back, and several other players have been signed to compete for a spot on the roster next season.

Work toward that goal began this week in the virtual boardroom with Reid and his coaches, and on the Texas training grounds with Mahomes, who knows the foundations for a successful season begin long before kickoff. shipping in September.

“The most important thing for the job we got in Texas is building those relationships,” Mahomes said via Zoom. “That’s what has made us great over the past few years, the bond of our team, the chemistry that we have, so we can be who we are. I wanted to bring everyone together so they could meet each other, learn get to know each other and build these friendships.

There are always new faces, even for the most successful franchises, but the near total overhaul the Chiefs have had this offseason is rare for a club so stable that it has hosted the last four AFC league games. .

Hill was the biggest start, shipped to the Dolphins for a slew of draft picks that could still remake the offense next week. It was a decision that raised eyebrows across the league both for the value Hill had for Kansas City and for the record-breaking contract Miami gave him the moment he arrived in South Florida.

Smith-Schuster, who showed flashes of stardom in Pittsburgh, and Valdes-Scantling, who has to live well to transition from Aaron Rodgers to Mahomes as a quarterback, are very promising players who Veach says can balance Hill’s production.

“Me and Brett are keeping everything open with Patrick. Chances are changes will happen throughout your career. That’s part of it,” Reid said after the offseason maneuvers. “It’s important that they see that it’s part of this game, and that changes are taking place, and I think you beat around the bush, I don’t think that’s good either.”

The change hasn’t just been on the attacking side of the ball either.

Veteran safety Tyrann Mathieu, who has played such an important role in setting up the defense for the past three seasons, remains on the free agent market. The Chiefs also released linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who often relayed defensive plays.

The Chiefs signed former Texans Justin Reid to take Mathieu’s place in the secondary. The linebacking squad is handled by sophomore pro Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr., a pair of younger players with higher caps.

“These days, unfortunately, you can’t just pay everyone,” Reid said. “It’s a difficult thing to do to extend contracts. You’re gonna lose a guy here and there. This is how it works.

The result is a team that is sure to bear little resemblance to the one that lost in the AFC title game against Cincinnati, let alone the one that went to back-to-back Super Bowls and won the Chiefs’ first championship in five years. decades.

“I don’t need them here right now,” Reid said. “We’ve played a lot of games in the last four or five years, maybe more than anyone else in the National Football League. I think it’s important to spend time and bond with new players. And when they get here, they’ll be revived, and we’ll be here for a while. So these next two weeks they can work and get to know each other away from here and I think that’s important.

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