KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Moving equipment to St. Joseph, Mo., for training camp proves no simple task.
The boxes stacked to the ceiling along the wall inside the dock area of the Chiefs training facility or the cargo containers outside the door for loading on a semi-truck offer proof.
But thankfully for the team, equipment manager Allen Wright brings decades of experience with the Chiefs to ensure a smooth operation.
“This is the 33rd (year) and it’s pretty exciting,” Wright said Tuesday of the move. “This is Year Two for (Chiefs coach) Andy (Reid) and his crew, so we have a little more idea of what to expect.”
Wright oversees a staff of four-time employees and an intern, a contrast from the two full-time employees when he first started with the Chiefs.
The equipment staff’s logistical mission surrounds ensuring the Chiefs have what they require on the ground when training camp kicks off in the coming week.
“We take everything you need as a coach or a player from the moment you get to training camp,” Wright said. “That’s everything from football-related – cleats, helmet, shoulder pads, thigh pads, shoes – to toiletries, to towels. We are a one-stop shop. They expect us to have what they need, and if they don’t, you better find out how to get it in a hurry.”
Some of the packed items include between 1,600 to 1,700 pairs of shoes, 1,000 towels and 400 footballs, Wright said.
The team’s equipment manager adds he personally goes through every player’s locker with a checklist to ensure nothing is forgotten.
Still, the logistics of the modern football era pale in comparison to what Wright dealt with 33 years ago.
“In the early 1980s, we had 12 coaches and today we have 22,” he said. “We have 90 players and the detail that we go to for the individual players now vs. back then.
“Back then, we had helmet, shoulder pads, shoes, knee pads, thigh pads and a bag. Today we have tight-fit tights. We have different colors. We have different style gloves for different conditions. Just the whole process has grown.”
The ability to adapt suits Wright, who said he’s worked with nine different head coaches during his time with the Chiefs.
Wright, the fourth equipment manager in team history, said he especially enjoys working with Reid.
“He truly gets it,” Wright said. “He gets it from a standpoint that he’s been there, done that. He’s been a position coach. He knows the hours and the time and the commitment that we give. He spreads that around. We appreciate that. Andy is a guy I can honestly say is probably the easiest guy for me to work with.”
Planning for training camp starts long before the end of the regular season.
For Wright and his staff, that entails taking lessons learned and methodically applying them immediately when the Chiefs conclude camp and return to Kansas City.
“We literally start packing our training camp trucks the day after we get back,” he said. “If you don’t, you’ll mess up.”
The Chiefs rookies and quarterbacks report for training camp on Sunday, July 20. Veterans report three days later on Wednesday in time for the first open practice to the public on Thursday.
Of course, time in St. Joseph is an annual temporary hiatus from known comfort levels for the players and coaching staff.
But the equipment staff does its best to make the team feel at home.
“Training camp is a grind,” Wright said. “We try to make it as normal as possible.”
Training camp schedule, as released by the Chiefs.
|Sunday, July 20||Rookies and quarterbacks report.|
|Wednesday, July 23||Veterans report.|
|Thursday, July 24||Practice – 3:30 p.m.
First Practice Open to the Public – $5 Admission Fee
|Friday, July 25||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Saturday, July 26||Practice – 8:15 a.m.
“American Family” Fun Day– $5 Admission Fee
|Sunday, July 27||Practice – 8:15 a.m.
Season Ticket Member Appreciation
|Monday, July 28||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Tuesday, July 29||No Practice|
|Wednesday, July 30||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Thursday, July 31||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Friday, Aug. 1||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Saturday, Aug. 2||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Sunday, Aug. 3||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Monday, Aug. 4||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Tuesday, Aug. 5||No Practice|
|Wednesday, Aug. 6||No Practice|
|Thursday, Aug. 7||Week 1 preseason: Bengals vs. Chiefs – 7 p.m.|
|Friday, Aug. 8||No Practice|
|Saturday, Aug. 9||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Sunday, Aug. 10||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Monday, Aug. 11||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Tuesday, Aug. 12||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Wednesday, Aug. 13||Practice – 8:15 a.m.|
|Thursday, Aug. 14||Practice – 8:15 a.m.Final Camp Practice|
|Friday, Aug. 15||No Practice|
|Saturday, Aug. 16||No Practice|
|Sunday, Aug. 17||Week 2 preseason: Chiefs at Panthers – 7 p.m.|