The occasion Thursday was the unveiling of a Bill Grigsby statue in Parkville, and more than once the signature line of the former Chiefs broadcaster who died in 2011 — “It’s a bea-u-ti-ful day” — was expressed.
But it was also a confusing day for some of the former Chiefs, who were at a loss to explain the stunning news of general manager John Dorsey’s firing on Thursday.
The announcement by the Chiefs occurred about two hours before the ceremony for Grigsby began.
“I had no idea what happened,” said Chiefs legend and broadcaster Len Dawson. “You take a guy they brought in and was hoping to be the guy to take care of the talent for Kansas City, then all of the sudden, whammo.
“Has there been an answer to why? Too bad they didn’t say it because otherwise we’re going to be asking why?”
Coach Andy Reid and Dorsey were hired eight days apart in January 2013. Reid now will be working with a new general manager.
“It was like my mom calling and telling me my cousin or my brother had passed away with no previous knowledge,” said Shawn Barber, who spent three of his 10 NFL seasons with the Chiefs. “I’m pretty sure the entire community is shocked.”
Barber is a member of the Kansas City Ambassadors, former Chiefs players who work and support causes in the community. Thursday’s news was big, Barber said, but he’s convinced the team’s attention won’t waver from the high-profile opening game at defending Super Bowl champion New England on Sept. 7.
“I don’t think anybody lost focus of what’s ahead,” Barber said. “I’m pretty sure they’re still focused on the New England Patriots. … As you know with most players we don’t deal with the general manager on a day to day basis.
“For our players preparing for the season I don’t think they’ll miss a beat.”
Barber said he was on a radio program earlier in the day and said unity was the organization’s strength.
“I told him the one thing that’s so special about Andy is between him the owner, the manager, the GM, the personnel (director), everybody’s on the same page. Everybody is always going in the same direction.
“If somebody’s not going in that direction, a change needs to be made. I think … one person I wholeheartedly trust with this organization is Andy Reid.”