Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he never considered taking a year off after he was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles in January.
"I felt like I am getting older," he said Tuesday during the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix. "We're only given so many years we can do this thing when you're energized and excited about it, so I felt like I was still there. It really never crossed my mind."
He was fired on a Monday in January and scheduled interviews for Tuesday and Wednesday. Among those interviewing him were Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and his entourage.
He said he feels fortunate to still be coaching and he's enjoying his time in Kansas City.
Reid said he had long watched the Hunt family in NFL meetings.
"I've developed relationships with the Hunt family, the Rooney family, the Maras. Those are just old football families," he said. "I remember sitting there thinking that if there was ever an opportunity to work - if it ever came to that - with one of those families, that would be a great thing. I mean, there are a lot of great families. Those are old, old, old football families that have kind of stuck together."
He said he appreciates how passionate Chiefs fans are about their team.
"I played there enough to know that when the team is rocking, Arrowhead is rocking, that's a tough place to play," he said.
He said he had been tough putting Philadelphia behind him, especially his players, coaches that remained behind and friends.
"But sometimes change can be good. I thought we were at that point. I think it will be good for the Eagles. I think they went about it the right away. They got themselves a good football coach, and they'll coach those players and do a good job with them ... I had a great time in Philadelphia. But there is a time and place that change can be good. I think it's going to be great for Philadelphia and hopefully it's good for the Kansas City Chiefs."
He spoke again about some of the issues he touched on when he was fired by Hunt.
He said he didn't believe he needed to take any time off to be with his family in the wake of his son's overdose death last year.
"Everybody was doing pretty good with it and heading in the right direction," he said. "I actually hired one of my sons to coach with us. He had been coaching at Temple, and my youngest guy, he's playing at Temple. My two girls, they're going in the right direction. One is a manger and graduated from college, and the other one is in college. Everybody kind of had their own thing that they were doing. My wife and I were empty nesters for the first time. We decided it was a good thing to do."
Reid said his son, Garrett, would have wanted him to return to coaching after his death.
"He would have kicked me in the butt if I didn't," he said. "I thought it was the right thing to do. I felt that from his standpoint it was the right thing to do. This is what we do. We do work, and I understood all that. I'm glad I had a good religious foundation and a good wife."
He also addressed the players he inherited and those he is adding, such as quarterback Alex Smith. He said he had long had his eye on Smith, but wanted to evaluate quarterback Matt Cassel. He said he has long liked Cassel, but Cassel had been through a lot in Kansas City and also needed a fresh start.
"We've got a good nucleus of guys. We've got enough draft picks, but we needed depth on our football team," he said. "Although, I thought Matt Cassel was a good quarterback. He just needed a change of scenery, and I think he'll be fine."
He said the Chiefs were able to get a good quarterback in Smith and backup Chase Daniel, a former star QB for the Missouri Tigers.
Smith has won a lot of games, but also has other skills, Reid said.
"I would tell you that he has the intangibles, the leadership and the work ethic and the smarts you need to do well," Reid said. "He's really had a touch of our offense."
Knowledge of the system was a key factor in acquiring Smith, the coach said. He said he has been through a volatile time and it's to Smith's credit that "he came out on top."
"The bottom line is that he has won games and he has a great quarterback rating," Reid said. "He is consistent, other than that you get all of his intangibles."
Reid also liked how Smith handle the media who were tossing tough questions at him, calling Smith a "brilliant kid."
"So I'm sure there were a ton of creative questions thrown at him and he handled them all, and he handled them like a man. He didn't crack and still trusted his own abilities," he said. "When you talk to him, he's still confident. He doesn't have the puppy eyes where he feels like he's been beat up, that's not how he feels. He's anxious to get back and be the starter. I think he handled it very well."
He said he expects a smooth transition for Smith and his coaches.
He said Daniel had strong backers such as New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.
"Sean Payton, who I'm friends with, thought the world of him," Reid said. "He got to play behind Drew Brees so he understands what it takes to be a champion at this level and lead a football team. I welcome that."
Reid said he is looking forward to working with running back Jamaal Charles. He said he had watched tape of Charles when he played under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
He also said receiver Dexter McCluster has "a heart of a lion," with tremendous quickness and hands that can snag balls.
"He's pretty good at running the football so there is a place for him. You line him up everywhere," he said. "You can move him around and kind of do some unique things with him."
Reid made clear he is enjoying working with long-time friend John Dorsey, who was also his racquet ball partner when they were together in Green Bay. The two worked together for seven years in Green Bay, which Dorsey left in January to take the promotion to Chiefs general manager.
"I have confidence in the personnel department," he said. "I don't have to worry about it. He has got it, with all that energy that he has, cut him loose and let it go."
Dorsey has a tremendous knack for assessing talent, Reid said. Both men have been traveling across the country and meeting with potential draft picks.
Altogether, the team is assessing up to 10 men for the first round. The team has already traveled to BYU and Oregon for workouts and meetings.
The Chiefs will consider trading the first draft pick if the conditions are right, Reid said. Teams have already expressed interest.
"We're going to keep all the options open," he said. "We're going to keep it wide open."
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