ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- For the first time since bringing training camp back to Missouri from Wisconsin in 2010, the Kansas City Chiefs have a decision to make about the future of their summer home. The five-year contract the Chiefs signed to hold camp at Missouri Western State University expires after they head home in three weeks.
The Chiefs hold a series of five one-year options to renew the contract but have yet to decide on a location for their camp in 2015.
“I wouldn’t say at this point that we’re leaning any way,’’ Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said. “We’ve enjoyed our time here 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 and visit with the university and make a decision before the end of the year.”
By all appearances the Chiefs are satisfied having their camp at Missouri Western, which is 64 miles from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Reid has publicly praised the school’s facilities, which include an indoor 100-yard artificial turf practice field.
St. Joseph is close enough to Kansas City that many Chiefs fans can easily attend practice. Saturday morning’s session began at 8:15 a.m. but still attracted a crowd the Chiefs estimated at 6,200 fans. The Chiefs held an appreciation for their season-ticket holders on Sunday.
“I don’t think being an hour from Kansas City hurts the audience at all,’’ Hunt said.
But if a decision to keep camp in St. Joseph is such a no-brainer, why are Hunt and the Chiefs hesitating? The Chiefs won’t find better facilities closer to Kansas City. That includes their own practice facility.
That’s likely the best option for the Chiefs if they are to move camp. Their practice facility couldn’t handle a crowd the size of Saturday’s without some modification but the Chiefs could hold some practices in Arrowhead Stadium.
"It’s not something we’ve discussed at this point,’’ Hunt said about bringing camp to Kansas City. “I don’t think we’d need to make a lot of changes. That facility works very well for us in the spring [and] during the season. The one thing that we don’t have at Arrowhead and the training complex is a hotel or dorm rooms. That’s a big advantage of the university setup.’’
Even though the Chiefs haven’t committed to St. Joseph beyond this year, look for them to stay at least one more year. Reid’s wishes will weigh heavily.
“The football side is most important,’’ Hunt said. “Does the coaching staff feel like they’re able to have an effective camp, that they’re able to get done what they need to get done here? There are a lot of things that go into that, a lot of small details. Andy I think is well-known for his attention to small details and the university does a nice job with those small details.
“I think there are a lot of positives by staying here.''