After finalizing th Chiefs coaching staff, Todd Haley met with the media — along with Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel and Emmitt Thomas — to talk about Kansas City’s new coaches. Here are the highlights:
How did everything come together to get Emmitt Thomas on the staff?
TH: “Coach Thomas is someone that, myself, growing up in the NFL and being around football most of my life, is somebody that I really always looked up to and had a great amount of respect for. Once I got into the coaching side of the NFL, you heard about Coach Thomas. He’s a guy that won a Super Bowl here playing, he’s coached for two more rings with the Washington Redskins, has been playing or coaching in the NFL for 42 years or somewhere around there I think. He’s in the Hall of Fame. He’s a guy that again, I’ve paid attention to. When I’ve seen him in a room or at the Combine or at the Senior Bowl or on the opposing sideline, I’ve always looked at him with a great deal of respect. When his name came up, Scott has a close relationship with (General Manager) Thomas Dimitroff in Atlanta and I know everybody there had nothing but terrific things to say about Coach (Thomas) and with our situation in the secondary, the more we visited with him – Coach Crennel and I actually visited with him at length along with a number of other guys – and just agreed that this was the guy for us.”
Coach Thomas, what’s it like to be back in Kansas City after being gone for so long?
ET: “It’s a wonderful feeling. I retired in ‘78 and had the opportunity to work down at Central Missouri State for two years and then I entered the NFL as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Cardinals before they moved to Arizona. Through all the Super Bowls, the hirings and firings, I’ve always anticipated and wished that I would get an opportunity to come back and finish up my career here in Kansas City where I started as a player. I’d like to say thanks to the Hunt family, Coach Todd Haley, Scott Pioli and Coach Crennel for having me and I’m looking forward to a great working environment.”
To both coordinators, you guys have been here for a few weeks, but the players aren’t required to be here. How much interaction have you had with the players?
RC: “I’ve had very little interaction with the present players on the team. I’m still learning. I think that’s part of this process. They have to learn me as I have to learn them so that we can better understand each other and hopefully get on the same page so we can move forward.”
CW: “I’ve been here a little longer so I’ve met some of them in person and I’m wearing a couple of them out on the phone – one in particular. I had a little bit of a head start to get a little communication going, but we’re all so cognizant – we’ve been around long enough to realize that these guys have a small window to spend time with their families, too – and I think it’s important to give them their family time because once the end of March rolls around, the off-season program kicks in. It’s a totally different ball of wax because the off-season in football really is now from Super Bowl Sunday to the end of March. It’s really a nine-or 10-month job, not a six-month job which many people perceive. They’ll certainly have enough of us and we’ll have enough of them before May rolls around.”
Have you talked about what the transition will be like going from being in charge to having a boss again, moving from being the head guy to being a coordinator?
RC: “I think all coaching jobs in pro football are hard. I don’t think very many transitions are easy. Transitions are difficult until you can get your feet on the ground and start running. It might be easier because I don’t have the whole scope now, I don’t have to worry about everything and everybody. All I have to worry about is the defensive side of the ball. We’ve got competent people to worry about the offense, special teams and then the overall picture, so it might be easier from that respect.”
CW: “I concur. I definitely think that’s the one thing that when you move into this position, just like the loaded question you asked Todd before that we all got a kick out of, really you’re asking him and not me and that’s why I’m smiling while you’re asking it. I’m glad you’re asking the question to somebody else other than me. It will be kind of nice to just worry about football. One of the things as coordinators in football, it’s a really fun position. You get to study your personnel; you get to study their personnel, their schemes and game plan whereas there are a lot of hats the head coach wears that you don’t have to wear. At this point in time, I’m glad that we have a head coach to take care of that and I’ll just worry about my job.”