Andy Reid says Hall of Fame trainer Dick Vermeil is ‘a phenomenal human being’

When the Kansas City Chiefs announced its training camp schedule for 2022, a practice had been scheduled for last Friday, followed by a day off on Saturday.

But just as training camp began, the team announced that those two days would be changed. Instead, the Chiefs would practice on Saturday, preceded by a day off on Friday.

The change was a bit unusual. Under head coach Andy Reid, the team has sometimes avoided having a practice on the same day as the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony; Reid is known to want to take the day off to attend.

The reason for the change became clearer when former Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil spoke after his induction on Saturday afternoon. in a acceptance speech that lasted more than 20 minutesVermeil praised the Hunt family, along with Reid.

“Thank you Lamar Hunt, and Norma, the best couple I’ve ever met in professional football,” Vermeil said. “Amazing. Clark Hunt and Tavia, his son and his daughter-in-law, came here last night and to see me this morning. Thank you for making the effort.

“Along with him came Andy Reid and Tammy… [who] left training camp [and] flew in here to congratulate me personally last night. I have never in my coaching career had a better show of respect for another person in the profession you are in than what Andy Reid did for me last night. He will always touch me. Thanks, Andy and Tammy.”

Speaking to reporters after Monday’s training camp practice at Western Missouri State University in St. Joseph, Reid said it was “great to see” Vermeil, whom he called “a great mentor” during his career.

“You know how Coach Vermeil is,” he told reporters. “I mean, if he’s with you and he knows you, he’s in. So I’ve had good times with him. We’ve followed a couple of the same steps here: Philadelphia, which is a unique place, and Kansas City, [a] Unique place so we have had that experience.

“When you’re a head coach, there aren’t any guys that you can talk to that have been in the same places as you, and he’s been tremendous in that way, coaching me on stuff.”

Reid said Vermeil had advised him to take the two NFL head coaching jobs he now holds.

“I called him and talked to him before I took the job in Philly,” Reid recalled. “He just said, ‘Listen, it’s a great organization [with] good people. It’s tough, but it’s a great place to be. If you can train there, if you make it, you’re doing well.’”

Then after Vermeil had recommended Reid to Clark Hunt as a candidate for the team’s open head coaching job in 2013, he expected another call from Reid.

And he got one.

“He told me about the atmosphere here and told me how bad you are. [indicating the reporters] — no, he didn’t — and he helped me do it,” Reid said. “That is priceless”.

This close relationship has continued during Reid’s time in Kansas City.

“It checks in all the time,” Reid revealed. “If it’s not once a week, it’s almost once a week, and he just makes sure everything is going well. He loves the game and all that. I appreciate all of that.”

Reid noted that when Vermeil walked across the stage during Saturday’s enshrinement ceremony, he took as long as the rest of the honorees combined, because he had to greet so many of the other Hall of Famers who were onstage.

“The guy who was emceeing just says, ‘Hey, this is Dick Vermeil. He has been a coach for over 50 years. He knows everybody!‘” Reid laughed. “And that says it all. That’s why it’s there. A phenomenal, phenomenal human being.”

But in typical fashion, Vermeil wanted to close his dedication speech with praise for other NFL coaches he has admired.

“I will always be grateful and appreciative of this honor,” he said. “The only thing that will make me feel a little bit better about being here as the 28th Hall of Fame football coach is when I see Mike Holmgren walk in, when I see Dan Reeves walk in, when I see Marty Schottenheimer walk in, when I see Mike Shanahan, when I see Tom Coughlin walk in, when I see George Seifert walk in [and] when I see Don Coryell walk in.

“Believe me: if I deserve it, so do they.”

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