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Chiefs' Reid views free agency like Thompson

Mar. 25, 2014
 
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid talks with members of the media during the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday. John Raoux/AP
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid talks with members of the media during the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday. John Raoux/AP

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s view on free agency sounds like he took a page right out of Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson’s playbook.

Thompson often is criticized for not being active enough in free agency, but Reid spelled out one of the reasons he has soured somewhat on signing players from other teams.

It’s a lesson that hit home when Reid, as coach and personnel chief of the Eagles in 2011, went out and added free agents for the so-called “dream team” in Philadelphia.

The Eagles floundered, and Reid picked up some valuable experience.

“Listen, I’m not a huge free agency guy,” Reid said Tuesday morning at the AFC coaches’ breakfast at the NFL’s annual meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes resort.

“I don’t think you build a team that way. I think you obviously build it through the draft. There’s so many elements that go into a player actually fitting into your program and being successful, that you get ‘em right where they’re kind of peaking in that system, then you disrupt that and move them on to another system. That can be tough, so the percentages drop, success rates drop.

“I think you spot a guy here or there, but too much of it, you have the other element where it has a chance to disrupt your locker room. This guy has been with me for 10 years and is making X number, all of a sudden you bring in a free agent who might be as good but maybe not as good, then you’re paying him way up here. All of a sudden you have this rift that goes on in the locker room. I think you have to be real careful on who you bring in and how you do it.”

That sounds a lot like the philosophy of Thompson, who has spoken about wanting to maintain a good locker room atmosphere and how free agency can sometimes disrupt that.

Reid and Chiefs general manager John Dorsey go back to their days in Green Bay in the 1990s, when Reid was an assistant coach and Dorsey was a personnel man under GM Ron Wolf.

Reid said he and Dorsey were “racquetball partners” in Green Bay and struck up a friendship. In Kansas City they have a strong working relationship and helped the Chiefs earn a playoff berth in their first season together.

“It’s been great,” Reid said. “John and I had a history before and I love his approach. He came in and I thought he brought the whole organization together with his personality. He’s a tough guy, we all know that, yet he’s got this personality where he just includes everybody. Everybody’s a part of it, he makes everybody feel a part of it.”

Dorsey has allowed Reid to detach himself from GM-type duties and focus on his first love, which is coaching.

“I love it, for where I’m at in my career I love it,” Reid said. “I loved doing what I did in Philly but I wanted to get back into coaching. I hadn’t done much of that for a few years. That’s why I got into the business. It was great to get back in, dive in, be able to be in the office, in meetings, the install meetings, call the plays.”

Dorsey said his relationship with Reid is similar to what the Packers have in Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy.

“It’s kind of like Ted and Mike, because philosophically, the head coach and the GM they understand, they come into this thing and they understand what they have to do in order to sustain and build a team,” Dorsey said.

“I believe Andy and I as well have a like mindset in terms of how to build a team, which (what’s) nice is, every successful organization I’ve seen when you have the communication between the head coach and general manager day in and day out, everybody hangs their egos at the door and you know what, let’s go to work and just take a run at it because I mean that’s what it’s all about.”

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