The off-season is finally over.
Today, Chiefs fans can relish in the fact that training camp is just a mere 20 days away. Everything returns to the home state of the Chiefs Nation in St. Joseph, Missouri and what waits is sure to be one heck of a party for the Red and Gold faithful.
But why does today officially mark the end of the off-season? Footballs haven’t been flying for quite some time.
Well, this morning is the last stand for the rookies. The veterans have been out of the off-season program, at least officially, for about three weeks (many of the veterans have been spotted it the building during their “vacation”). But the rookies stayed back to catch their game up as they all got a late start on the off-season program in comparison to their veteran teammates.
This afternoon, the rookies are officially set home free. Of course, if they know what’s best for them, they won’t consider this 2.5 week break a “vacation.”
“The most important thing is that they continue to make progress and don’t go backwards,” head coach Todd Haley said earlier this off-season. “The next thing in line will be training camp.”
Fortunately, this rookie class has been well trained. Each one of the Chiefs fresh faces knows that Haley’s infamous conditioning test awaits them in St. Joe on July 30th. As a result, they also know that a trip back home to mom’s best recipes and a familiar spot on the sofa is a one-way ticket out of town.
“I will probably go home and see family,” rookie WR
This rookie class arrived precisely at the right time. All this crew knows about the pro game is the aspect of complete buy-in and participation in mandatory workouts. First impressions leave lasting impressions and the 2010 rookies saw veteran participation in the off-season program that can be rivaled by few other NFL clubs. Working hard is all they know.
It’s a good thing, because the Chiefs are counting on many in this rookie class to make immediate on-field contributions.
“I will continue to get strong and to get better every day,” rookie WR
These rookie players also know what is expected from them in the conditioning aspect of things. Unlike last off-season, Kansas City’s veterans made sure to put a lasting impression into the minds of these first-year players by reporting to OTAs and mini-camp in peak physical condition. The 2009 Rookie Class didn’t have the same precedent to observe a year ago.
From this point on, the ball is in their court.
“You’re never on vacation,” rookie OL Lemule Jeanpierre said. “I’ve never really gotten used to that, dating all the way back to high school playing multiple sports. With me, I’m all year round with my training. I’ll go home, but it’s nothing except me relocating my workouts. I’ll be working out and I’ve got plenty of notes I’ll be studying, so when I come back for camp I can make the biggest possible impact to help out the team.”
Soon, everyone will be back and the pads will start to crack. It’s about time.