Lamar Hunt Left Impact on Herm Edwards

Late Wednesday night Kansas City Chiefs Founder Lamar Hunt passed away. It was something that we all expected based on comments made by the organization in regards to his health the last several weeks. It's a sad day but Lamar Hunt's life made an impact on many people including Head Coach Herm Edwards.

"At approximately 10 PM Wednesday evening, December 13, at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, my father Lamar Hunt went to be with the Lord. We are very grateful for the thoughts and prayers we have received over the last few weeks," his son Clark Hunt said in a statement early this morning.

Today every fan of the Chiefs has a sense of sadness that will permeate for sometime. The loss of Lamar Hunt will have the Chiefs nation sad for a period of time. Yes he's not suffering anymore but still that doesn't make it any easier.

For Head Coach Herm Edwards he owes much to Lamar Hunt. But he recognizes that his contributions to the league and the sport will shape his legacy. But Edwards knew first hand the character of the man Lamar Hunt and he appreciates the opportunity he gave him ten years ago as a scout but also last January when he was hired as his head coach.

But that legacy began in the early 60's when Lamar Hunt plowed the road for players like Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan and Otis Taylor to join his AFL league. They were all African Americans who fought resistance from the staunch NFL. When Lamar Hunt formed the AFL he opened up his doors to all athletes and he made sure that anyone who had the talent to play football would get a chance in Kansas City.

"When the old AFL came into existence he was probably one of the first guys that gave the black player an opportunity to play professional football. He realized it was ok to give people opportunity. He did it in a humbling way. He doesn't want credit for anything. The more he does the more he steps back," Edwards said.

That's what made Lamar Hunt so special because he trusted the people he hired to run his companies and he loved sports. He loved football, basketball and soccer. He still owns a minority stake in the Chicago Bulls and his passion to Americanize Soccer is something that remained dear to his heart even though he sold the Kansas City Wizards this past year.

"The one thing I learned about him was he was a sportsman. He knows the people that work with him their families their children. He looks at the players and he knows where they went to school and about their own families. That's the kind of person he was," Edwards said.

When Herm Edwards retired from pro football as a player, he needed a job. His playing days were over and after receiving an offer from his friend Carl Peterson to work for the Chiefs as a scout, Edwards jumped at the opportunity.

"He gave me my first opportunity to work in professional football," Herm Edwards told me on Wednesday. "He gave me a job here. Imagine that. I started out in the Kansas City Chiefs organization ten years ago."

"I used to talk to him when I was a scout downstairs," Edwards said remembering the first years in Kansas City. "He was good he really wanted to know about the player. He didn't just know about the athlete but the player. That's unbelievable but that says a lot about the man. He gets it as an owner," he said.

But that was as a scout and now he's the head coach.

"Ten years I come back and he hires me as a head coach. It doesn't get any better than that. When I came here the first time I knew this was a special place," Edwards said.

How special? When the season started out 0-2 Edwards was dejected.

"He called me at 9:30 that night. We lost two in a row and he's telling me that I'm doing a great job," Edwards said. We lost two in a row and in my mind I knew we'd be ok but to here it from him that's special."

For Herm Edwards today is going to be difficult because Lamar Hunt touched everyone's life in the organization.

"He lived a life that made a difference as a person on this earth," Edwards said.

Information on memorial services will be forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Heart of a Champion foundation.

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