Team Building Takes Chiefs to the Movies

St. Joseph, MO -- With just a handful of days left in St. Joseph, the Chiefs finally got a break from head coach Todd Haley. The team's regularly scheduled morning practice was canceled in favor of a "team building" exercise that saw the team leave Missouri Western's campus and head off to a local movie theater to indulge in junk food, laughs, and some shut-eye.

Tricks were up Haley's sleeve all morning, beginning with the team suiting up and heading down to the practice field to conduct a brief walkthrough. Joining the team dressed in the yellow #9 quarterback's jersey was offensive quality control coach Nick Sirianni. This sent some of us members of the media into a frenzy as to whether or not it was former Chiefs quarterback Matt Gutierrez (from afar, it seemed like it at first). The injury to Brodie Croyle over the weekend only cooked up speculation as to whether or not a fourth quarterback had joined the roster.

"We somehow convinced [Nick] he was going to be in practice," Haley joked. "He took one for the team… whatever wins we get in the playoffs, we'll give [him] credit."

Shortly after the practical joke on Sirianni sunk in, the players – whom were still showing signs of sleepiness – broke out in a loud cheer when they were told that practice was canceled and that the team was heading to Hollywood Theatres in St. Joseph.

Most of the players slept through ‘The Other Guys'
Getty Images




Kansas City's head coach decision to cancel practice at the last minute and his light-hearted prank shows that Haley has embraced a more laid-back approach to coaching heading into his second season with the Chiefs and wants everybody to know it. Haley acknowledged that the team did something similar during organized team activities last season, but the training camp setting is much different. He insisted that "it was the right thing to do" in order to make the team build camaraderie heading into the 2010 season.

Derrick Johnson noted that "Coach [Haley] is doing the right thing" in his approach to getting the team comfortable with each other. Another head coach from the Bill Parcells coaching tree with a brazen personality took on a similarly relaxed approach heading into a critical year and it paid off for him; that was Tom Coughlin, who led the New York Giants to victory in Super Bowl XLII.

Most of the players admitted to sleeping in the theatre or pigging out on the concession stand; Johnson said he "didn't make it through his movie" but enjoyed his slushie; Eric Berry had bags under his eyes when he said he didn't even have enough energy to talk to us.

Haley chose to go see the Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg comedy The Other Guys, but noted that he "could only hear portions of it because Shaun Smith was one row behind [him] snoring the loudest [he's] ever heard a human being snore."

Haley would not disclose Croyle's injury.
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Meanwhile, when the team arrived back at Missouri Western, Croyle's right bicep was wrapped up while he was chomping down on some licorice heading into the Griffon Indoor practice facility. Haley wouldn't comment on the extent of Croyle's injury, but it might not be that much to worry about, especially since the Nick-Sirianni-as-quarterback joke turned out to be a hoax. However, Chiefs fans know very well of Croyle's brush with injuries.

Just days after a bumbling 20–10 loss to the Falcons, it might be a little fitting that the team went to see movies about "Schmucks" and "Expendables". The team has a lot to work on, but with only a few days left in St. Joseph, the rest was much deserved for a team that has been suffering from blazing temperatures.

It's also the first step for Haley in gaining the team's trust heading into a season with high expectations. Haley called the trip to the movies a reward because the team's "been working hard in tough conditions with pads on… 19 out of 21 days." With three more preseason games to go, there's still plenty of time for the team to right the ship and for Haley to truly establish himself.

"I feel like we're making progress as a group," Haley insists. "This year we're trying to think outside the box a little bit."

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