What We Learned from Chiefs GM John Dorsey on Tuesday
Here's the transcript of Dorsey's conference call with the media on Tuesday:
OPENING STATEMENT: "Hey, guys. How are we doing? First off, happy belated Easter to you all. Second of all, I can't believe it, but I'm a little under the weather, so with that, I'll take your questions, so shoot."
Adam Teicher (ESPN): With regards to Husain Abdullah, first, were you surprised by his retirement and second, do you think maybe you're going to see more players retire at a younger age, maybe before a traditional time for them to retire?
DORSEY: "Well one, with Husain (Abdullah), I love the person. I love what he's done for the Kansas City Chiefs over the last three years. He is a very deep individual. You know, he thinks a lot. He's had a chance now since the offseason to think about what he wants to do and what direction he wants to head in, and any direction he wants to head in, I fully (support)-if that's what he wants to do, I'm 100% behind him. I really like the kid. I just like his approach not only to the community, but what he did for the Kansas City Chiefs."
Teicher: Do you think this will start a trend with other guys retiring while they still have some good football left in them?
DORSEY: "You know what, the answer I can tell you, Adam, is I don't know. That's a case-by-case thing here. How am I to say what one person is thinking, and that's as honest as I can be with you."
Sam Mellinger (KC Star): How much of your evaluation of guys in the draft and free agency is sort of how they look at football and if this is going to be a possibility for them?
DORSEY: "Well now, you know, what we've always said is when we do our research upon players, we've always said we want guys that are very passionate about the game of football, that are good guys within that locker room and will be good people within the community, so of course you're going to try to put all those pieces together. At the end of the day, hopefully you've made the right decision."
Joel Thorman (Arrowhead Pride): Did you know at the start of free agency that Husain was considering retirement or was this somewhat of a surprise to you?
DORSEY: "No, I really didn't know this. I did get a text from him yesterday, a very nice text, and that's kind of, as far as communication, I told him I'd like to talk with him today just to talk as friends. We're going to talk today once I get finished with these meetings here this evening."
Thorman: Are you trying to talk him into coming back or are you just trying to talk to him as a person?
DORSEY: "No, I'm talking to him as a man. I think he deserves that. You guys, I really like this guy, and I think he is a quality person. I think I've told you all along, he has one of the gentle souls that I've been around. I just like the guy and I just want to talk to him man to man."
Teicher: Will you put it in perspective what it does to the program to not have a third-round draft pick right now?
DORSEY: "Well I mean, I think I know what you're referring to, and that's what the league has done. I think what we have done as an organization, as Clark said, we're going to try to appeal this. I think it's in the proper context of any type of appeal, I think it'd be best if I didn't say anything until we've had our chance to appeal with the league."
Teicher: I'm not asking about the penalty itself, I'm asking what it does to the program not having that pick?
DORSEY: "Well, it's going to make sure that we try to hit those picks as we go along. Of course, it will change a few things. You have to make sure that the diligent work you do is as good of work as you possibly can do, and that's what we're going to do. Actually, we've spent all morning beginning to do this. I've been meeting with the guys here for the last five hours and we will continue to do that to make sure that at the end of the day, this 2016 draft of the Kansas City Chiefs is the best we've done to date."
Teicher: Why was Justin Houston's surgery not done earlier than mid-February?
DORSEY: "Well, as I look at this surgery, because after the playoff games, what they did is they went down to Dr. Andrews, had a review with Justin, came back and that was the recommendation."
Teicher: Was that recommendation not made by your own doctors and/or Dr. Andrews when he went down there before the regular season was over?
DORSEY: "I know this. We all know the Buffalo game, what happened to Justin. He sat out those weeks right there and at that time, every player is allowed to get a second opinion. He went down to see Dr. Andrews and at that time, they had done the MRIs and what they did there is, everything was very positive in that regard. I think the important thing that we did here is, I think a couple weeks ago, Andy (Reid) had Rick (Burkholder) on and what Rick is, is really good at being able to explain these medical terminologies and I think he did a very nice and broad job with regards to Justin's situation as we speak. The good news is, Justin is going to be up here in the next couple days, and if you know anything about the doctor, the training staff, these guys rehab up here in the best way. That's all you can ask for, is to have number 50 up here and just grinding at it and getting ready for the '16 season."
Teicher: Since Rick doesn't answer questions and you do, why wasn't this diagnosed sooner and should it have been diagnosed sooner than it was?
DORSEY: "Well I think it was the process. I mean, that was a long process and that process came up. As it unfolded, when you come back and they run an MRI on the thing, everything's there. You have to think that's very positive. When they went back in February, they did it, they came back and had some other findings."
BJ Kissel (Chiefs.com): After the Buffalo game, those few weeks Justin was rehabbing there, how was he responding to the rehab and how did that play into the decision to let him come back in for the Houston game?
DORSEY: "It's kind of like what Justin does, he attacks it. He attacks with passion. I think that the training staff, they all kind of had a plan together to work through this thing. There was a timeline estimate and he slowly began to get out there and practice. You could see it was good, it was stable."
Thorman: So Justin did not re-injure the knee in that Texans playoff game?
DORSEY: "No, he didn't. He didn't redo it. That's the thing. Here we are, you guys, and what's good is, Justin's coming back here and rehabbing, and we're getting ready to attack this 2016, so what I have to do is I have to live in the present, and that's kind of what I'm living in. To answer your question, Joel, no. He did not re-injure it."
Thorman: So in February, did that kind of throw your offseason in a loop? How did this affect your planning?
DORSEY: "It was an unfortunate situation, but what we do in this position is, we go along with our business. Did it alter our plans? No. We had a plan in place and we stuck to that plan. I think that plan was a good plan as is evidence of what transpired in the free agency period and now we have a second component of it and that's leading up to the draft."
Thorman: So Justin Houston's injury didn't mean you now feel the need to bring somebody in, you're planning on him being here pretty early?
DORSEY: "Yeah. Absolutely."
Terez Paylor (KC Star): When Justin went down to Florida the first time in December, was there any way you guys could have seen the ligaments were the way they were in February or did it just get worse?
DORSEY: "No, but I mean, one: he played in the game. Two: when you go to a man as renowned as Dr. Andrews, everybody who plays this game, if they go for a second opinion, the majority of them go see Dr. Andrews. Dr. Andrews comes back and gives you something that's positive, that's a good thing."
Paylor: Just to be clear, Dr. Andrews' assessment back in December was that he could continue to rehab and come back and play in a few weeks, is that correct?
DORSEY: "I think you're correct."
Paylor: And his assessment in December is the same as what Rick's was?
Paylor: Another guy people are asking about a lot is De'Anthony Thomas. Do you still anticipate him coming back for offseason workouts in April?
DORSEY: "I was in the building last week and he's been around. Like I said to you all earlier, he's a Kansas City Chief, and he will continue to be a Kansas City Chief."
Thorman: Is your De'Anthony Thomas situation fluid at this point, because there were reports out there saying you've been talking to the 49ers about trading him?
DORSEY: "I would tell you if I've had conversations with the 49ers, I haven't. I think that's just a natural evolution of how that social media stuff works, only because Chip Kelly is now in San Francisco and was with Oregon. I have not talked to the 49ers whatsoever about De'Anthony Thomas."
Herbie Teope (Topeka Capital-Journal): With some of your linemen not returning, how comfortable are you that the current starting left guard is on the roster before the draft?
DORSEY: "Right now, I feel good with the depth that we have on the offensive line. What Andy has always said and I've always said, we're going to find the best five guys and I think we have the nucleus of a really good offensive line coming through. Right now, you have your options here. Jah Reid's played the left guard position, Zach Fultonhas played the left guard position, so we have some options going into this thing. That's not to say if an offensive linemen presents itself in the draft that we wouldn't take that. I think Andy and those guys do a great job of teaching and I feel good about the direction we're headed with the offensive line."
Teope: Eric Fisher has a fifth-year option to consider in the next few months, where are you in that process?
DORSEY: "Well, we've had, with regards to Eric's option year coming up - I believe that's May 2 when that comes up. We have had very positive discussions with regards to his option here. And we have plenty of time here, you guys. It's May 2, right now - we're at March 29. But we have had discussions with regards to this. Let us get close up to the draft here and let's see where we are."
Thorman: Is extending Eric Fisher before his option something you're considering when you mention conversations?
DORSEY: "Yes it is. That's part of the discussion there. When I say we talk, we have discussions with his representatives, those are the types of things that come up during these discussions. And we will continue to have discussions moving forward here."
Paylor: So you're saying you've had discussions with Fisher's representatives about an extension?
DORSEY: "We talk about all different types of options, Terez, is what I'm saying. Have we had discussions with regards to the option year? I've briefly talked to his representative about this. We've been talking. We talk about a lot of different things."
Paylor: As an evaluator, what is the baseline for an offensive line that's good enough to win a Super Bowl with? What are the traits that guy has to have to be good enough?
DORSEY: "First off, he's got to have the positional measurable for that particular position. I think he's got to have a high degree of mental quickness, he's got to be unselfish in terms of being able to work with a group type of thing. I've always liked guys that can be dirty-tough, that's always important, too. There's a lot of things that go on on the offensive line, but at the end of the day, it's got to be a fist, it has to be five working parts bound together as one, and that's what we're trying to achieve here."
Paylor: Regarding toughness, with the stuff you saw from Fisher towards the end of the year, how important is that for a lineman to have? If a guy can be tough and smart, is that good enough?
DORSEY: "Well, I think if you win your battles consistently, week-in and week-out, I think that's a good thing. Then all of the sudden, you have a self-belief that you take it to the next step - and the good ones, you always see they begin to exercise their will on the defenders. I think, as you saw with Eric as he went along in the second half of the season, you saw steady improvement. We said all along that it was going to be, year three, coming from where he came from, that he was going to begin to make steady strides. And he's been making steady strides all along."
Teicher: There are no offensive lineman left from when you and Andy Reid got here. Is it harder to find guys at that position that have the qualities that you like more than any other position?
DORSEY: "I kind of understand what you're saying here. I still think if you can get a group of guys that love the game of football, that are really good guys and come to work every day, day-in, day-out, you're going to have something good. And that's not just on the offensive line. That could be the quarterback position, the offensive line, the defensive line. I think early on, we made a statement that when you build a foundation on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, I think that's important. And going into this draft, I like the foundation that we have developed over the last three years."
Teope: What led you to bring aboard Efe Obada and Tautvydas Kieras?
DORSEY: "He told me to just call him T.K., so it's a lot easier just calling him T.K. I think what they have is they have a degree of athleticism that you look for in that particular position. And those were very unique traits. We have coaches that can develop these. And I think what you're doing is you're going into OTAs and training camp now and you're trying to see if there's a steady degree of improvement as we move along here. I know for a fact that I think T.K. is working out in Las Vegas right now. Obada, he's been training as well. So it's a chance - you may be able to hit this one. We'll just see what happens as they develop. I said why not take a shot and see where these guys stand. I'm kind of curios to see, once they get into OTAs, how they progress."
Teicher: Does the fact that you had Demetrius Harris and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif make you feel more confident that you can find guys with non-traditional football backgrounds?
DORSEY: "Truth be told, I'd say statistically, it's about 87 percent of the players that play in the National Football League are from Division I schools. I don't think you can line your roster with a lot of these different projects. Again, I think that the players we've had who have developed, I think that's a reflection of the coaches and how they've helped develop these players moving in the process. And also having a degree of patience. I think when you have patience, if you have an athletic trait, you can develop on that and you just have to have a little bit of patience here."
Teicher: With regards to Efe Obada, how did you guys become aware of him?
DORSEY: "We have a lot of contact with a lot of different people. We had watched the film (from) the Cowboys a little bit. We brought him in for a workout, he moved around and had the qualities of movement skills very similar to an outside linebacker. So we said 'you know what, here's a natural progression, here's a man 6-4 and a half, basically, 260, 265 pounds who moves like an athlete. Why not take a shot on length and athleticism?'"
Teicher: What's a reasonable timeframe for when he could be a functional player?
DORSEY: "The first thing you have to do is see how they react in OTAs and how they grasp the system. And then you have to see them and get your hands around them when they go into training camp and see if they have the wherewithal to work through the tough part of the training camp, and then get a chance to watch them play in preseason games. Then, I think, you can make your assessment as you move along here, probably in a four-stage thing. But I think you have to go in stages here, a little bit, just to see if they develop and they begin to have a learning curve that we'd like to see."
Thorman: Is cornerback an area that you're still looking at or do you think you have somebody on the roster that can fill that need?
DORSEY: "There's a reason why we drafted (Steven) Nelson where we did, there's a reason why we drafted Phillip Gaines where we did. I think those are two good players there. Then we have (Marcus Cooper) still on the roster here, now he has started for us. That's not to say if the best available player pops up there and he happens to be a corner, then all of a sudden we have a corner there. We are 29 days away from the draft. We're still trying to see if there's any veteran corners out there that may spark our interest, so we're steadily working at this. But we also are now having a keen eye on regards to the pro days that are happening as we speak. So it's a constant, moving parts scenario, we'll always be looking at every position."
Thorman: Is Steven Nelson a guy that is ready to contribute yet or is he still in the system trying to work his way through it?
DORSEY: "I think he made great strides and I think everybody learns at different paces. What I truly admired in him - I don't know if you remember the Texans game when Marcus Peters lost his shoe, that young man ran right in there, went out after (DeAndre) Hopkins and guess what, he broke up a pass. That was a big play. I've seen steady improvement from him as we've gone along this season. I expect big things from (him) here in year two."
Teope: As of right now, the Chiefs have $5.7 million in cap space, how much of a priority is there to get something done sooner than later with Eric Berry?
DORSEY: "Again, with regards to that, we have ongoing conversations. His representative and I have talked numerous times. We will continue to have discussions and we'll see if we can wrap our arms around this and see if everybody can come to an agreement how we all see this thing."
Teope: How would you categorize those talks? Positive or you're at a standstill?
DORSEY: "I think whenever you can have communication, I think that's important. The communication, regardless if it's good or bad, as long as two sides are communicating, good things can usually transpire. I just like to keep the communication open and we will continue to keep the communication open."
Thorman: Traditionally, you've gone into the season with about $10 million in cap space. Is that the goal, to be at that level or is that just coincidence?
DORSEY: "I think it's more based off of coincidence. I think we can make some adjustments here and we'll see as we move forward and see what that number can be as we get closer to the season."
Thorman: Who do you plan on taking with your first-round pick?
DORSEY: "Do you want me to answer that?"
Thorman: It would be great if you did.
DORSEY: "Best available player."