In the weeks between OTAs and training camp, Chris Conley kept the metal to the pedal.
Conley, a Chiefs rookie wide receiver, wasn’t going to let himself fall behind the pack before his first NFL camp began.
“It’s just been a non-stop grind since then,” he said Tuesday, the day rookies and quarterbacks reported to training camp at Missouri Western State University. “You get told about 100 times ‘Be in shape. Make sure you run. It’s gonna be hot.’”
Despite the forthcoming heat and numerous wind sprints, Conley, a third-round pick out of Georgia, is prepared to not only compete, but learn a lot about the Chiefs’ team chemistry.
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“This is really when you find out what you have as a team, the cohesiveness that you’re gonna have and really what your makeup is,” Conley said. “You’re gonna create an identity.”
Conley, listed at 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds, isn’t about to let rookie jitters impact his mindset or play on the field.
“If you let yourself get to that point, you can have some anxiety. You can be uncomfortable,” Conley said. “But when you really get down to bear bones of it ... football is football. But you have to constantly remind yourself that you’re here for a reason.
“When you realize that, and you realize the potential and the talent that you do have, it takes some of that weight off your shoulders.”
For about four weeks during the offseason, Conley trained with Chiefs third-string quarterback Aaron Murray, also a Georgia product. Conley ran the routes and Murray dished out the passes. The two were teammates at Georgia for three seasons.
Conley said the workouts increased his confidence, and reminded him of their days as Bulldogs. They also helped him further grasp the Chiefs’ playbook.
“(It was) constant reinforcement of this offense,” Conley said of the workouts with Murray. “Much like in days past when we were at Georgia, we can constantly work on the playbook, we can constantly run the routes that are gonna be run here. I can constantly tweak the little things, and that’s what’s so important in this league and that’s what makes this team different.”
Conley impressed with his quickness and athleticism during OTAs, and said he received positive feedback from the coaching staff, but he still has high expectations for himself in training camp.
“I believe in being your hardest critic and always being someone who always has more room to improve,” Conley said. “OTAs was good. It was a learning process. It was beneficial for a lot of us rookies. Going on, we have so much more to prove, so much more to do, if we want to be the players we want to be.”