Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said on Saturday that the club will decide whether to continue training camp at Missouri Western State University by the end of the calendar year.
The Chiefs are in the final year of their initial five-year agreement with the school and have one-year options for the next five years. They trained at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls during 1991-2009 before bringing camp back to Missouri.
Nineteen of the NFL’s 32 teams now train at their own facilities, and it’s a possibility the Chiefs will follow that trend in 2015.
“I wouldn’t say at this point we’re leaning any way,” Hunt said. “We’ve enjoyed our time in St. Joe. The university has done a great job for us. Coach (Andy) Reid really likes the setup we have here.
“It’s a decision we’ll make after training camp. We’ll sit down as an organization, visit with the university and make a decision before the end of the year.”
Hunt said what’s best for the football operation will determine whether the Chiefs continue to hold training camp at Missouri Western or any other college setting.
“Does the football staff, the coaching staff feel like they’re able to have an effective camp … be able to get done what they want to get done here,” Hunt said. “There are a lot of small details that go into that. The university does a nice job with those small details.”
Hunt said keeping the camp in St. Joseph is not the only option.
“A lot of teams have made that decision to take training camp back to their permanent facilities,” Hunt said. “It’s not something we’ve discussed. If we did make the decision to move, we would look at all of our options.
“The one thing we don’t have at the Arrowhead training complex is a hotel or dorm rooms. I think that’s a big advantage of the university set-up.”
Hunt was impressed with the turnout of 6,200 fans who attended Saturday’s Family Fun Day.
“That’s the advantage of having camp close to Kansas City is our fans can get up here,” Hunt said. “When we were in River Falls, we had a lot of fans make the trip, but I don’t think we ever had 6,200 fans out 100 percent of them Chiefs fans cheering them on. Andy said how much he appreciated the fans and the lift they give the players. That’s all a positive.”
The Chiefs could probably draw 62,000 fans to a Family Fun Day at Arrowhead.
“Potentially …” Hunt said. “I don’t think being an hour from Kansas City really hurts the audience at all.”
Three days after the Chiefs signed running back Jamaal Charles to a four-year, $28 million contract extension, Hunt said the club will now turn to extending the deals of outside linebacker Justin Houston and Alex Smith. Each is in the final year of his contract.
“Justin Houston is a great player, and we’re glad to have him as part of the Kansas City Chiefs,” Hunt said. “We’ll get to that at the right time. He does have one year left in his contract, like Alex Smith does.
“Both those guys are important to the organization, and we would anticipate that process will follow due course over the next six months or so.”
The first order of business, though was taking care of Charles, who accounted for 35.8 percent of the Chiefs’ offense last year and led the NFL with 19 touchdowns.
“Clearly, Jamaal Charles is a special player, one of the greatest players already in his young career in the history of the Chiefs,” Hunt said. “The structure of the contract gave us the opportunity to approach him and get an extension that was good for both parties. He was looking for an increase in compensation which we felt based on his production was warranted, and we wanted to tie him down for another couple of years for the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Hopefully he plays the majority of his career as a Chief.”