Sammy Watkins, Anthony Hitchens, David Amerson and Kendall Fuller spoke to the media on Thursday
WR SAMMY WATKINS
General Manager Brett Veach Opening Statement: “Thanks everybody for being here. I’d like to announce that we’ve officially signed Sammy Watkins to the Kansas City Chiefs. I would like to welcome Sammy, and his fiancé Tala, and his children Samiah and Saliah, to the Chiefs Kingdom. We’d also like to thank his agent Tory Dandy, and all the CAA crew with their work with our guys – Brandt Tilis and Chris Shea – for their work and their trust in bringing Sammy here and trusting our vision for Sammy and what he can do. And the last thing I’d like to do, I’d like to thank the fans. In our conversations with Sammy and his representation, Sammy made it clear that he wanted a coach, a quarterback and a great culture, and he wanted great fans. So I think the fans should know that their effect on our organization extends beyond Sundays. With that I’d like to turn it over to Sammy.”
WR Sammy Watkins Opening Statement: “First of all I’d like to thank Mr. Hunt and the Hunt family. The GM, Mr. Veach, and Coach Andy Reid. It’s an exciting time for me because I chose this, chose to come out here and spend hopefully the rest of my career here. Just a happy, exciting time to get started and it’s a very blessed moment for me and my family and this organization. Just knowing the history of this team and how well they all played in the past, the previous years going to the playoffs, just excited to be here.”
Q: What are some of the things that attracted you to Kansas City?
WATKINS: “Just Chiefs Kingdom. I played here two years ago and I feel like I fed off these fans and the stadium and the atmosphere. Of course you’ve got a Hall of Fame in Coach Andy Reid, you have Patrick Mahomes, you have so many other players, Travis Kelce, so many other guys that have already been here and have been doing great things. Me, I’m just coming here to have fun and add my ability is really why I chose here.”
Q: How much does the presence of Patrick Mahomes help you?
WATKINS: “I think it just helps me, both of us being young. We’re young guys, 24 years old, still got a lot more things to learn in this game and still got to get better. Just feel like we can get better together and we can grow together. I mean all the guys that we have on this team we can grow, it’s a young team. I really just can’t wait to get started and meet the players, learn the playbook and kind of calm down and move into the season.”
Q: Patrick has a big arm, the deep ball – is that your game? How optimistic are you that you’re going to have some opportunities now to stretch the field?
WATKINS: “Very optimistic. I just know he’s a great player. He didn’t go in the first round for no reason and just really ready to get out there and play football. I know this team and this offense and this organization are going to do great and just trying to add my ability and my family into this atmosphere.”
Q: When did you think Kansas City was the spot for you?
WATKINS: “I was just waiting to see what teams were out there. When Wednesday came around, 5 or 6 o’clock it just donned on me, and I really just wanted to pick the best place for me and I had the opportunity to. For me it was just picking the best organization and the best team, the best coaches, the best players and really the best place where my family can live and be happy. To be a part of the organization.”
Q: Did it matter that the Chiefs tried to trade for you last year?
WATKINS: “I didn’t even know all that. My biggest thing was going somewhere where there’s a great coach and a great organization, great players and of course just really wanting to be my best. I think I have the best opportunity to do that here.”
Q: Did you know that the Chiefs tried to trade for you in training camp?
WATKINS: “No sir, I was not aware of that. Like I said, I’m in the best situation. I’m here now and I’m really just ready to play football.”
Q: Was there a point that you thought you had him in training camp?
VEACH: “I don’t think it ever got close. I was calling Brandon Beane at Buffalo a lot and he made it clear that this is an immensely talented player, have to get at least a (second-round pick). Like I said yesterday, not having a (first-round pick) and then coming back in the draft not having a (second-round pick) would’ve been difficult. But we sure tried. It didn’t work out but we never lost sight of the player and again, we didn’t know what was going to happen in regards to the (franchise) tag. But when they (Los Angeles Rams) decided not to tag him, we went all in.”
Q: Coach, what are the challenges of playing against press coverage now?
REID: “Well so much of that is the release off of the ball. So getting off a jam, that jam coverage, and that’s one of his strengths. So we invite people to do that. I mean if you’re putting the word out there, we’re okay with it.”
Q: What made an impression on you during that game at Arrowhead a few years ago?
WATKINS: “For me it was the fans. Like I said, I think for me I just fed off that energy. We know in the NFL it’s hard to get offended from fans like this – to be cheering and standing up, and I mean on every first down or when the defense gets a stop, the crowd is raging. That’s what you need when you’re trying to build a championship team.”
Q: Brett, has he been on your radar for some time?
VEACH: “Yeah. I mean with a guy of this caliber, he was one of the best receivers coming out in a long time. Love the guy, he went top 10 for a reason. As I said yesterday, Sammy Watkins is a scheme fit for every team in the NFL. It’s just hard to acquire these guys. When we’re sitting there in free agency and you see a 24-year old, elite playmaker, you don’t get those opportunities a lot. What we have and where we’re going, we said about it in the staff room, we may not get this chance again. We expect to win, we’ll be picking at the bottom of one (first round) and in this case two (second round), we’re going to get Sammy Watkins. So we get one chance to go get him, let’s make it happen.”
Q: How much confidence do you have picking up the playbook?
WATKINS: “The offense is definitely broad I think for me. I’m just going to lean on the coaches and the players. I’m not going to be trying to rush anything, I’m just going to come to the coaches, lean on Greg Lewis to help me out. Like I said, there’s players that have been here two or three years, those are the players I’m going to be asking a lot of questions and going to. I’m not going to be perfect. I’m going to mess up probably early on, that’s just part of the process. I’m just going to lean on my coaches and teammates.”
Q: What would you say your role was in the Rams’ offense?
WATKINS: “I don’t really pay attention to that. For me it was my first season out, I was healthy, to go out there and be my best and dominate on the field and I think for the most part, without the numbers, that was my best season. I had fun, it was my first season in the playoffs and I enjoyed it.”
Q: What do you think you did really well last year?
WATKINS: “Honestly, I think I played the game the way it was played. Played physical, played fast, and running around and doing it with passion. I had to find how to play the game again just being injured, last year was by far my best season and I enjoyed the game.”
Q: Who were some of your receiving influences growing up?
WATKINS: “Most of the greats. You can call out someone that might be going to the Hall of Fame, Terrell Owens. There’s so many guys – Jerry Rice, you got Cris Carter, Michael Irvin, a lot of guys, Randy Moss. There’s so many guys that were at their best around that time so those were guys that I try to mimic my game like and perfect my craft.”
Q: What do you have to do to make sure you’re healthy for 16 games?
WATKINS: “I think the same thing I did last year, really just hone in on eating right, sleeping right and taking care of my body, massages, the basic things. Staying in the training room, not because you’re hurt but because you’re being on top of things and getting in that cold tub. Just being an all-around pro.”
Q: You’ve worked with a lot of young quarterbacks, anything different you see in Patrick Mahomes?
WATKINS: “Like I said, for me he went first round for a reason. Haven’t really watched anything on him or seen anything but I know for a fact that he’s on a great staff and organization and coaches so for me let him go through his process as well as everyone on this team goes through. I’m going to follow his lead and he’s definitely going to help me out and I’m going to try my best to help him out. He’s going to be a great quarterback.”
Q: Who’s your favorite guy to go against?
WATKINS: “There’s so many guys, it’s week-to-week. But for me it was definitely (Darrelle) Revis, that was definitely my match early coming into the league. I enjoyed it. He helped me definitely get better and to face a top corner was definitely a privilege.”
Q: How much thought did you put into figuring out was this a good fit for your family?
WATKINS: “My family is definitely a big decision on where to go and for me it was, I’m not a big city guy or into that party life, whatever the case may be. I just wanted to be somewhere where I can be comfortable, where my family can be comfortable. My daughter’s getting old, there’s great schools, great private schools around here. Really I can raise my family and be happy and that’s what made me choose here.”
Q: Coach, what’s the early thoughts on where guys could line up?
REID: “He’ll line up at the X to start with. Then we have the flexibility of moving him around. He’ll be the man on the line of scrimmage, inviting your first question (press coverage).”
LB ANTHONY HITCHENS
VEACH OPENING STATEMENT: “I would like to again officially announce that we have signed Anthony Hitchens to the Kansas City Chiefs. I would like to welcome Anthony and his wife, Ashley, to the Kingdom. I would also like to thank his agent Jack Bechta for his work with our crew, Brandt Tilis and Chris Shea. There were a lot of hours Wednesday night that went into this. There were a lot of teams that wanted Anthony and I certainly thank Jack, Ashely and Anthony for trusting in us and our vision for him with this defense.”
HITCHENS OPENING STATEMENT: “I just want to thank everyone in this organization and the Hunt family, Brett (Veach), Coach Reid, and my agent. Just taking the time, putting everything right and getting here. I am excited and I can’t wait to get this thing going. Great guys, I have met a couple already. I am excited.”
Q: When did Kansas City become a choice for you?
HITCHENS: “As soon as the season was over. It’s not far. Me and my wife, we love the Midwest. There are good players here and they win every year, and we are just excited.”
Q: So you give your agent a list and say go get it done with one of these teams?
HITCHENS: “It didn’t work like that. He gave me some options and I narrowed it down for him.”
Q: Did it play a factor that the Chiefs had been interested in you for a while?
HITCHENS: “Definitely. I didn’t hear that until the season was over, I had to focus on the season, my agent didn’t want to bring it up. Once he told me that and they came back again, I was like, ‘We need to make that happen.’”
Q: You played the Chiefs last year, what do you think about the group of skill players the Chiefs have?
HITCHENS: “It is top in the league. Going into our week, we spent some extra time. I am glad to be part of it now.”
Q: What did you do to scheme against them?
HITCHENS: “First of all, you can’t play man because they are too good. But at the same time, you have to stop the run. Mobile quarterbacks, it was a handful. I am just happy to be a part of it.”
Q: Where were you at on the Tyreek Hill play at the end of the half?
HITCHENS: “I was the last guy he made miss. That is just a prime example right there. We were playing man-to-man, he outran his guy and made everybody else miss. That’s just what I said, an explosive offense and I am just happy to be on the other side.”
Q: What were you thinking after that play?
HITCHENS: “We can’t let it happen again. We have to erase it, on to the Men’s 1994 Buffalo Bills 35th Anniversary Jim Kelly Mitchell and Ness Royal Blue Throwback Jersey next play. It just shows the type of athletes we have here.”
Q: With the Chiefs releasing veteran guys like Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, how much can you bring to the locker room as far as leadership and being a veteran presence goes?
HITCHENS: “It will definitely be hard to replace those guys. (They’ve) been around in the league for a while, made a lot of plays. I can just bring my energy and Vintage 1968 Mitchell and Ness Joe Namath New York Jets Throwback Jersey Cheap my love for the game and stuff like that. Whatever coaches need me to do. Guys can look at me knowing I will do the right thing on and off the field and just lead in the best way I know how to lead.”
Q: Coach, how much does bringing in a guy that has leadership and brings a good presence in the locker room factor in?
REID: “I know Brett (Veach) had both Sammy and Anthony in mind for a while. Somebody asked that question and one of the top things he told me was the quality of people these two guys are. You are replacing a DJ that every day he came out and practiced like he was 20 years old. That is how he went about his business. And he is a good guy on and off the field. That was one of Brett’s objectives was to bring in guys here that were quality people and leaders. Not only did he (Hitchens) do it at the college level but I’m sure you read the tweets from his teammates in Dallas and how they spoke of him and how they will miss him th Mitchell and Ness Dan Fouts Los Angeles Chargers Vintage 1984 Throwback Football Jersey Cheap ere. This guy is a tremendous human being and a tremendous player. Brett is trying to bring that into our football team now.”
Q: Are you on Twitter now?
REID: “No, but Veach is. He coaches me up.”
Q: Are you going to get on it?
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REID: “Probably not.”
VEACH: “And just to add to Coach. In addition, as a staff at the end of when we do our full evaluation of offense and defense – when we look at the defense and we are trying to get different pieces here right in place – I don’t think you get better until you develop and get a mindset, how you are going to play. You have to get corners, you have to get pass rushers, defense, we are aware of all that. But it starts with a mindset. So when you turn on the tape and watch Anthony Hitchens plays, he plays with that toughness and that mindset. So when you take the field, that opposing offense knows they are going to be in for a dog fight for four quarters. That is one of the things that we talked about as a staff. Yeah, we can get good players, but we have to develop that mindset. This is what this guy brings. He leaves it on the field and he does everything the right way. That is why he was a target for us back in July and when we came to this free agency period, that’s why he was a target again.”
Q: The linebacker position seems to be a real emphasis for you, in order to stop the run did you think you needed these linebackers here?
VEACH: “Well, yeah. And I think they set the tone, those guys. Like the quarterback, like Pat (Mahomes) will do on offense, I think those linebackers will set the tone. Go back to developing that mindset, ‘We are just going to go out there and roll our sleeves up and get to work.’ And it starts with those two backers. Now you have Reggie (Ragland), and now you have Hitch. I think we start to develop a mindset of how we feel as a defense.”
Q: Do you guys feel good about young guys coming into this environment and being about to learn and be led?
VEACH: “You feel good when young guys come in with the track record they have. These guys have a history of being leaders and bringing that mindset and toughness when they were in high school, when they were in college and when they were in the pros. They are young but this is who are. This is what they are going to bring and this is how they are going to play off each other.”
CB DAVID AMERSON
Q: What interested you about what’s going on here? Why the Chiefs instead of somewhere else?
AMERSON: “When I came for my visit just the vibe of the GM and Coach Reid, just all the coaches period even down to the people that were showing me around the building and everything. I wanted to be part of a winning organization. Somewhere that has a team that has a chance to compete for a championship. I feel like it just felt right. I felt like it was a good place for me to define my career.”
Q: You’ve played against the Chiefs. Talk about the receivers they have here. How does this group compare? What makes guys like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce what they are?
AMERSON: “They’re both top players at their position. Obviously you know with Tyreek the speed he has is unmatched and it makes a big difference in football. With Kelce he’s a dynamic tight end and I think probably the best tight end in the league in my opinion. He goes out there and shows every week. He has that Gronk in him. That competitiveness. He’s a good competitor. I feel like that definitely gives him that edge day in and day out, week in and week out. Those guys are, like I said, two of the best at their position.”
Q: I like to ask players when they first get here how they see themselves because I think it’s a good representation of what you can expect to get from them. If I asked you to kind of describe yourself as a player in a few sentences what would you say?
AMERSON: “Play maker. I’m going to come in and work hard. I’m not really a big talker or anything like that. I just keep my head down and balls to the wall work hard every day. Go out there and prove myself and let that speak for itself. I’ve always been that type of guy.”
Q: I was looking at your tape and your history. You’ve had some really productive years with ball production. You did it in college your last year and then 2015 with Oakland. Can you talk about some of the factors that led to you having years like that? Why were those years so special?
AMERSON: “I think on defense the biggest thing is getting turnovers and getting your hands on the ball. That’s what kind of separates somebody that’s just out there and somebody that’s out there really making plays, really getting opportunities and taking advantage of them and changing the game and being a game changer. I think even with those years that I had or whatever it just came with preparation and just being 100% healthy. All that plays a factor into all those things. That’s kind of what I want to build my identity as, period. Every year.”
Q: You mentioned the part about being healthy and you were healthy in 2015. How much did the health play a role in last year and in 2016?
AMERSON: “2016, I was pretty healthy, I mean I had a broken hand pretty much the whole season. Other than that I was good enough to play compared to this last year. That was my first time really missing games especially that many games more than half the season. That was my first time really ever dealing with that type of injury. It was different. I learned a lot from myself as a player and just how the business works period. I think I’ve definitely grown from it. Like I said, I do the best I can not to go back to ever being injured again.”
Q: What did they tell you about the scheme here when you visited Brett Veach and Andy Reid?
AMERSON: “They told me it was more of a press team. More of kind of a Seattle scheme which I was somewhat familiar with. Just be prepared to play 90% press. I didn’t have a problem with that. It wasn’t anything new to me.”
Q: Any particular side you’re more comfortable on?
AMERSON: “I played both. I played right. I played left. I guess I’ll be playing right. I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter to me.”
Q: Which side did you play in 2015?
AMERSON: “Mostly left but I played both that season. It just depends. Sometimes I was traveling with guys. Sometimes I was strictly left. In the beginning I was kind of moving right and then they’d bring the third corner in and move our left corner inside and then I’d move left because he wasn’t comfortable playing left side. Like I said I have played both sides for real. I was playing both sides in 2015.”
Q: The Chiefs bringing you in, they made the trade for Kendall Fuller and made the move with Marcus Peters – is there some pressure coming into this situation?
AMERSON: “It all just depends on how you look at it. People will say there’s pressure for such and such to step up or DA or Kendall or whoever’s out there step up. But at the end of the day at my position there’s pressure every play. Like there’s nothing that really stands out like I have to do this or do that. I’m going to go out there, play my game and be the best DA I can be. That will be good enough. I feel as long as I’m going 100% balls to the wall then I think I can be a top player in this league and for the Chief Men’s 1985 Chicago Bears 34 Walter Payton Mitchell and Ness Authentic Throwback Navy Blue Jersey s.”
Q: Physically how do you feel?
AMERSON: “I feel good. I feel back to myself. I can move and do things I want to. Workouts have been going good and I think it’s going to be a real good year for me.”
Q: Do you represent yourself?
AMERSON: “I have an agent that I work along with but he doesn’t all the way represent me. So yeah I guess you could say that.”
Q: Why’d you decide to make that decision?
AMERSON: “I just felt like my past experience with agents I was just dishing out money for no reason. I’m a person that wants to protect my money and just make the wise decisions and not just cutting checks for no reason. I feel like it’s the best decision for me.”
CB KENDALL FULLER
Q: Has the shock of the trade worn off, are you settled in to being a member of the Chiefs?
FULLER: “Yeah I think the shock I would say pretty much ended yesterday, actually being official and stuff like that. I’m excited to get to town and I’m excited to be a Chief.”
Q: Looks like you play with an edge, is that correct and where does that come from and why is it necessary?
FULLER: “I think that’s correct. Probably just growing up in a house with three older brothers, pretty much the only thing we did was compete. Even to this day, any little thing we’ll find something to play, find something to compete on. I think it’s just one of those things once you get on the field you got to be able to have that.”
Q: When you were at Virginia Tech which side of the field did you play on?
FULLER: “The defense we did was you pretty much played on both sides.”
Q: So for you there’s no preference to what side?
FULLER: “Yeah either or.”
Q: What have you been told about the kind of scheme you’re going to be asked to play here?
FULLER: “Honestly not too much. I think basically in terms of when the trade happened, we weren’t really able to talk in terms of league rules so honestly I’m not sure. I think starting from now or when I get there tomorrow I’ll be able to start figuring out more.”
Q: Do you feel like you have a better reputation of being a better press corner than an off corner?
FULLER: “Honestly I will take both. Coming from Virginia Tech, our defensive back coach he was the guy that he wanted you to learn how to do everything, know how to do everything. I think what I pride myself on is putting myself in the best situation to make plays and that’s what every coach in the NFL takes pride on. There’s going to be some situations where you’re going to be comfortable off and some situations where you’ll be comfortable press. Especially in this league you can’t line up and just do one thing every single time. Being able to do both and excel at both is special.”
Q: With what the Chiefs have going on the offensive side of the ball with their skill players, do you feel like this is one of the better groups in the league?
FULLER: “Yeah definitely one of the first words you think of is speed. Just on the weapons that they have, Sammy Watkins, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Just a lot of different play makers, guys that if you get the ball in their hands and they can take it the rest of the way so it’s definitely going to be exciting. I’m excited to go up against it in practice, that’ll make the games a lot easier for me so I’m looking forward to it.”
Q: Did you match up much in the game last year against Tyreek (Hill)?
FULLER: “I think I matched up with him a couple times. I think I matched up with Albert Wilson, with him too. Definitely got some speed over there.”
Q: As far as Tyreek Hill goes, until you are on the field with him, can you really appreciate how fast he is?
FULLER: “I think I am going to appreciate it a lot more seeing it day to day. I think he is definitely respected when you watch the film and stuff like that. It probably is a whole different animal when you are going against it every day.”
Q: If people want to compare you to Marcus Peters, how do you deal with that?
FULLER: “I don’t really look at it that way at all. Some people would say, ‘Oh, you have a lot of pressure’ and other stuff. Anytime people say you have a lot of pressure, it just means you have an opportunity. Really, just going in there and just being who I am and not trying to play like someone else or be someone else. Knowing what I have to do and trying to make plays to help us win games.”
Q: Why does football matter so much to the Fuller family?
FULLER: “I think mainly just for us, especially growing up in Baltimore, I think football was just a way out for us. We’ve seen a lot of different people get into a lot of different stuff and deal with different stuff. But for us, my father, my parents, they kind of just always kept us in sports. It was just kind of a way to get away from everything and just a way for us to be able to do what we are doing now. When you are growing up and that’s all you are doing is living and breathing football or just any sport and stuff like that you learn to appreciate it a lot.”
Q: Can you walk us through what was going through your mind when the trade went down?
FULLER: “I heard about the Alex Smith part and no one knew the other side yet, and I guess when other people started coming out with it I wasn’t aware yet. I think my agent had just found out and they were giving me calls and I started tweeting a little bit. Once I realized I was actually in the trade, I told myself I just need to get off twitter right now. It wasn’t too emotional. When I look back at it, I think it is kind of funny how it went. We are here now.”
Q: Can fans expect that you are a good natured guy and like to have fun?
FULLER: “Yeah, I am pretty much just laid back chilling. The way I look at it, you still get an opportunity to play football, especially for a great organization. A team that clearly wanted me to be a part of the organization so all positivity for me.”