Following Chiefs practice in Kansas City today, Todd Haley met with the media. Here are the highlights:
“As you know, Dwayne Bowe is suspended for four games. Appreciate that you all are curious about it, but this is now officially a league matter and there’s nothing I can speak out on.
“That being said, our receiver group must step up now. We lose one of our better receivers for four games. I’ve said here for the last couple of weeks I feel like our receiver group is improving as a whole. It will be an opportunity for a Bobby Wade to get back into the mix. I know he’s been waiting for another opportunity and he’ll get one this week. But as a whole, this group needs to step up and fill the void.”
On potential fill ins for Bowe:
“The details of who is where I won’t get into. I think Bobby Wade will be back playing and I think that’s good for him. He was not playing because of anything to do with his ability. That was more roster-related two weeks in a row. I tried to make that clear to you and to him. It’s tough decisions and last guy and somebody has to sit tight. Bobby’s been chomping at the bit and he helped us a bunch when he got here and now he’s looking to help us again.”
On Lance Long:
“Lance was a guy in Arizona that I think we got for about $500 right after the draft. One of our coaches on the staff had been a college coach of his and he knew him. Lance doesn’t have a lot of college career catches but he knew him and said he would be a great guy for camp. He’ll come in and give you an honest day’s work and when the draft ends that’s always a tough deal where you’re scrambling trying to find enough guys. You have holes at certain spots. I really didn’t have any expectations for Lance and really tried to run him off for the first month [in Arizona] or so. He’ll probably attest to that.
“But as time went on you could tell this guy wasn’t going away. His role early on and for most of the year was just a show-team player. But every day the guy made plays and the defense didn’t like him and you take notice. That’s the way guys make it and there’s never going to be a day he can ever take off. But he’s quick and he’s tough and he goes a hundred miles an hour all the time. That’s what got my attention. As we’ve said here, if we’ve got a chance to upgrade we’re going to do it every time we can.”
Do you think your workout program and conditioning part of training camp was too strenuous to where it made some of the guys feel they had to take shortcuts?
“A lot of time is put into the offseason conditioning program and the weight-set with our expert training staff on what we set those weights at. No different than anybody else. They’re all consistent with a healthy weight and condition for guys to be in and that helps them.”
Given your youth and what the Steelers meant to you and your family, will it always be a special feeling when you play them?
“Without a doubt, my memories of the Steelers will never be taken away. It was a phenomenal time to grow up in Pittsburgh and then to actually have a connection to the Steelers through my father and me getting to work for them in a much lower capacity. Those are tremendous, tremendous memories.
“The year they went back to the Super Bowl a few years ago when they played Seattle they showed all the old [TV] clips and my wife elbows me and says, ‘are you crying?’ They’re great, great memories and there are still a lot of people there who mean a lot to me.
“I know the Super Bowl was a surreal experience having to play of all the teams it’s the Steelers. I had to fight with my friends because Steeler fans don’t convert. Most of my other friends who are fans of other teams they convert to wherever I am. But my Steeler fans don’t convert. They stay.
“Now we get to play them again and I’m just looking forward to the challenge because they are a well-coached team. Coach Tomlin has done an unbelievable job with a very talented team and Coach LeBeau, how can you be a better coach than he’s been over the years? It’s a great challenge.”
On new RB Tim Castille:
“Tim Castille is from Alabama and shared duties at Alabama at fullback. Tim is another guy I have some experience with and I’m excited to get him in here. He’s a guy that can help us on special teams and I think he can be a little bit of a cross-over back and be a bigger running back for us and play fullback. He adds to us in a couple different spots especially with (Dantrell) Savage being injured. He got going today.”