There was just one piece left on Brett Veach’s plate at Garozzo’s, but there might as well have been 100 — a well-deserved meal the night before his long-awaited induction as the Kansas City Chiefs’ new general manager.
Joined Sunday night by his wife, Alison, his brother, Robert Jr., his mother, Donna, his father, Robert Sr. and longtime mentor Jerry Oravitz, Veach said the dinner was like a mini-family reunion back home. The group from Pennsylvania compared Garozzo’s to Mattucci’s, an Italian restaurant located in Mount Carmel, Pa., Veach’s hometown of 5,700 about 88 miles away from Philadelphia.
Mount Carmel is still fresh in Veach’s memory, so it was fitting that he thanked his hometown, where he interned with the Eagles a decade ago, at the beginning of his introductory news conference Monday morning at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I was very fortunate to grow up in a small town where football meant everything to me,” Veach said.
As he enjoyed his lasagna Sunday evening, the conversation at the dinner table continued to grow. Oravitz, the University of Delaware’s associate director of athletics and a former colleague there with Veach, said he felt like a proud father as they reflected on old memories.
“I just kept telling Brett at dinner, ‘I’m not surprised you are where you are,’” Oravitz said. “It was time for him to ascend. He’s always had it — the intelligence, the vision, the leadership skills. He was always very inquisitive.”
Veach climbed the NFL ladder quickly. After establishing his fundamentals as a graduate assistant at Delaware, he interned with the Eagles, where he made an instant impression on then-Philly coach Andy Reid.
Their relationship was so strong that Reid hired Veach after his internship. Veach joined the Chiefs with Reid in 2013, serving as a pro and college personnel analyst before being promoted to co-director of player personnel in 2015.
“Working with Coach (Reid), we disagree a lot,” Veach said. “It’s not like we’ve worked together for 10 years and we agree on everything. I think my ability to go in there and challenge him in certain areas raises his game.”
By the time Veach finished his lasagna on Sunday, Oravitz was ready for a peek into Veach’s future. The group left the restaurant and Veach drove them to Arrowhead Stadium to give Oravitz a tour of the Chiefs’ facilities.
When the two passed by the weight room, they remembered the long two-a-day workouts they’d spent back at Mount Carmel and Delaware.
Excited as he was, Oravitz said Monday was just the start of another chapter for Veach.
“This is really just the beginning of what’s going to be a terrific career for him with the Chiefs and in the NFL,” Oravitz said. “He’s paid his dues. He’s the right person, a great family man. He doesn’t forget his roots.
“He’s really like Coach Reid: family oriented and they care about the people they work with.”