Around The Web: Camp Contract, “Nightmare” At Irrelevant Week

On Thursday, The Kansas City Chiefs reached a deal with the state of Missouri to move their training camp to Missouri Western State University.  The only remaining decision was who would get the contract to build the facility.  Crossland Construction, based in Columbus, Kan., submitted the lowest bid of 14 general contractors and was awarded the contract.

The $13.7 million total project cost is being paid for by city, county and mostly Chiefs’ funding.  But since Tuesday, when it was revealed that Crossland submitted the low bid, there has been concern that local workers wouldn’t be involved in the project.  Dr. Bob Vartabedian, president of Western, noted that state guidelines prohibit giving preference to a specific contractor, local or out-of-town.

“We have to choose the best and lowest bid.”

But the lowest bidder must also prove it is capable of completing the project satisfactorily.  Jeff Ellison, lead architect on the project said in projects where public money is involved, price gets the first look.  Beyond that, he did a background check on Crossland and didn’t find any red flags.

“They have an impressive list of projects.  They certainly seem qualified for ours.”

The Board of Governors meet Thursday and will ratify the decision then.  Construction is slated to begin July 1 and will be completed by July 5, 2010.

Things seem to be going according to plan now after some delays finalizing the original deal.

Chiefs 7th round pick, Ryan Succop will take part in “Irrelevant Week” starting on Monday.  But he will not be the only member of the Kansas City Chiefs family that will take part in the festivities.

Former All-Pro running back Christian Okoye will be a featured guest at the All-Star Lowsman Banquet during “Irrelevant Week”.  Okoye is all about making dreams come true, giving back for the greater good, so when he heard about how the special week helps with charities, it was a no brainer for the former Chief.Okoye1

“It’s a good idea.  It makes the last guy feel like he’s important.  And this is great, especially because he’s playing for the Chiefs.  I guess maybe we needed a kicker.  If you’re a kicker and you get drafted, it must be a big deal because kickers usually don’t get drafted.  They usually get picked up on waivers.”

“Relating to the Mr. Irrelevant concept is easy for Okoye.  He’s experienced his own rags-to-riches story.  He began as an underdog, rising from humble beginnings.  In Nigeria, he grew up in poor conditions, dreaming of fame and fortune.  His athleticism paved a way to America.  He came to the U.S. in 1982 to compete in track and field at Azusa Pacific University.

Later, he realized he could build a career in football.  He became a nightmare for defenses, anyone who got in his way.  But now, life after football, Okoye is the opposite.  Now 47, he runs a foundation in his name that helps young people develop their skills.  He also stays busy, running his company, which produces a protein powder.

But there’s a relatively new concept for which he carries a certain special pride. Three years ago, Okoye founded the California Sports Hall of Fame.  He said he came up with the idea soon after being named to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

“I just thought: ‘We don’t have a California Sports Hall of Fame,’  I thought California should have one, too.  I put in a call to Bill Walsh.  He agreed to support it.  I made sure I contacted big names and they all threw in their support.  Last year we honored eight.  This year six.  Next year it will probably be eight.  It’s fun.”

As “Irrelevant Week” gets bigger each year, I’d love to see current or former players from the team that drafted Mr. Irrelevant be a part of the activities through the week.  Okoye has done so many amazing things since he left football and having a platform like “Irrelevant Week” to promote them is great.  To get a great perspective on his post-football accomplishments, you need to check out the interview our friends at Arrowhead Pride did with Okoye last week.

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