By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The Kansas City Chiefs have begun arriving at the Missouri Western campus in St. Joseph as training camp activities get underway this weekend.
Rookies and quarterbacks were the first to report Friday, and the team will hold three closed practices Saturday before practices open to the general public on Wednesday.
Patrick Mahomes, who's beginning his fifth season with the Chiefs, was among the first to arrive Friday.
After being confined to the Kansas City facilities for training camp last year due to COVID-19, Mahomes is thrilled to be back in St. Joseph, where camp has been held every year from 2010-2019.
He says it's an especially good time to get more familiar with the rookies on the team, particularly second-round draft pick Creed Humphrey out of Oklahoma, who will be vying for the starting center position behind Austin Blythe.
"Things like training camp in St. Joseph and all being together pretty much every single day, you keep building those relationships that have already been built a little bit," Mahomes said during a Zoom call with reporters Friday. "I think it'll bring us together throughout this month. Not only going out and practicing every single day, but also eating every single meal together and building those relationships."
As for Mahomes' health, he says he feels 100 percent going into camp after recovering from turf toe surgery in February following a 31-9 loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl 55.
"I've been training, running, throwing and doing everything I normally do," Mahomes said. "I think what was so good about going to (Organized Team Activities) and doing those things was, I tested it there and realized I was good. Then when I got back with Bobby (Stroupe) and started training in the offseason with him, I was able to do with him what I normally would do."
The Super Bowl loss is well in the rearview by this point, but Mahomes says the sting of that defeat stuck with him for at least a couple of weeks after. However, he views training camp as an opportunity to start fresh and build toward getting better this coming season.
"I think the best thing about getting to training camp is it all starts over," Mahomes said. "No matter how you ended the year before, you get to go in with the mindset of starting from scratch. So, we're excited to do that and are going to try and make another run at it."
Coach Andy Reid, who enters his ninth season with the Chiefs and 29th overall in the NFL, is also thrilled to come back to St. Joseph for camp. He praised Missouri Western personnel for their hospitality during nearly month-long event.
"We're glad to be back up here in St. Joe," he said. "We love the hospitality they give us up here at Missouri Western State University. From their president (Elizabeth Kennedy) on down, it's just all class and that's obviously why we have returned."
Reid says the best part of training camp is the constant focus on football, but also team comradery.
"There's this concentration of football that you take in here," he said. "You're sleeping and eating in the dorm. You're here and it's football kind of 24/7. That's how it works."
Reid said 30 players total will report to camp, which opens up to media and fans on July 28 and will conclude on August 18. All practices will be held at the Mosaic Training Fields. Nearly every practice will start at 9:15 a.m. A full training camp schedule and details can be found here.
Most Chiefs players, all Chiefs coaches are vaccinated
Coach Reid said 90 percent of the team and the entire Chiefs' coaching staff have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The NFL announced Thursday that teams could be forced to forfeit a game if there's a COVID-19 outbreak amongst unvaccinated players that would cause a game to be postponed.
"It's definitely a big deal with that news coming out," Mahomes said. "You don't want to forfeit games, but I think we have guys in the locker room who are vaccinated and guys who are unvaccinated who are going to be smart and not try to hurt the team in any way."
Frank Clark will report to camp despite legal trouble
Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark is expected to report to training camp next week.
Clark has had multiple run-ins with police during the offseason in Los Angeles - first in March and again in June.
Los Angeles County prosecutors charged Clark earlier this month with felony illegal possession of a firearm in connection to the March arrest. That court case is ongoing. Clark has not been formally charged in connection to the incident in June.