Clark Hunt Says his Call was the First One Andy Reid Took, Also Discusses Need for Better Quarterback Play and the Top Pick

January 14, 2013 – 8:40 am by Brad Gagnon

Clark Hunt has a chance to make a large splash in Kansas City right now, and he’s off to a good start this offseason with the hiring of long-time Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid to lead his franchise in 2013 and beyond. Next up: The search for a new general manager and a franchise quarterback. Throw in that the Chiefs have the top pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and Hunt’s in a position to turn things around quickly.

Clark Hunt joined Bob Fescoe on KCSP in Kansas City to discuss the hiring of Andy Reid, the firing of Scott Pioli and the details behind those processes. He also touched on the team’s poor quarterback play and having the top pick in April’s draft.

On hiring Andy Reid:

“Well, there was a lot of speculation late in the year that he might be dismissed in Philadelphia. And clearly I think anybody who was going to be looking for a head coach at the end of the season would have had Andy on that list. He was on ours. I didn’t know what to expect, frankly, from the interview, but I certainly knew that I wanted to talk to him and I wanted to talk to him early in the process. … I was fortunate that on Monday, when I placed my call to him, that I was the first phone call that he picked up. He had had a very busy day in Philadelphia, as you can imagine, with his players and saying goodbye to the Eagles organization. And just by chance I was the first call that he picked up. I was able to get a meeting scheduled with him on a tentative basis on Wednesday, which we were able to confirm. We were his first interview and it just went great.”

On how early in his nine-hour interview with Reid he knew he was his guy:

“It was probably sometime in the first couple of hours. With all the candidates, I made a point of sitting down with them by myself first and spending time with them and just trying to get to know them as a person. And he just had tremendous energy and he and I really clicked right from the get-go. So I knew pretty early and I had my fingers crossed that he was feeling the same way.”

On Reid indicating he was ready to jump right into a new head-coaching gig, even after all he’s been through:

“The other thing that we were looking for in the interview process with him was: Was he ready to go again? He had just had a very long stint in Philadelphia, had had a hard year this last year both on and off the field. And that was one of the big questions: Was he ready to pick back up and be a head coach in the National Football League? And he came in absolutely energized and dispelled that question very, very early.”

On why they prioritized the head-coaching search over the GM search this time:

“I knew that there were going to be a handful of very qualified candidates and a lot of teams looking for new head coaches. And I wanted to make sure that the Chiefs were in the mix with those candidates, whether it was Andy or some of the other people that we had on our list.”

On firing Scott Pioli:

“I think he’s an outstanding evaluator of talent. I think he has a very bright future in the National Football League. But we just ultimately got to the decision, really jointly, that a fresh start would be best for us and best for him. We made that decision a couple days before Coach Reid joined us.”

On the large list of candidates they considered in addition to Reid:

“We had a lot of people on our list. We had coordinators — very talented coordinators of successful teams in the league. We had a number of college head coaches on the list. And then we had several people like Andy, who had head-coaching experience in the National Football League. I was somewhat inclined to go with the more experienced coach at this point. I thought it was what our team needed. We still have a relatively young team. We obviously still have some areas where we need to improve, and I thought somebody with Andy’s experience was exactly the right call.”

On the quarterback position:

“Well, we clearly need better play from the quarterback position — no two ways about it. Coach Reid, in his introductory press conference, mentioned that that’s gonna be a big focus of his. He’s gonna start with the guys on the roster, he’s gonna evaluate what’s available in free agency, and then also look at the draft. We’ve got that first pick in the draft but there’s not that clear-cut quarterback, I think, that you take at that position this year necessarily. So he’s gonna have a lot to think about and he looks forward to getting started on that evaluation right away.”

On having the top pick in April’s draft:

“It certainly gives you a lot of options. There clearly are going to be outstanding football players who are going to be worthy of that No. 1 pick, but that No. 1 pick can also be currency. If somebody has somebody at the top of their board that they want to move up and get, maybe a trade’s the right thing for us and we accumulate more high draft picks. Clearly we need to add a number of talented players to the roster this year and having that No. 1 pick gives us a lot of flexibility.”

Listen to Clark Hunt on KSCP here

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