Even with training camp changes, Chiefs players know staying healthy depends on them

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Training camp is underway for the Kansas City Chiefs, and players say they appreciate all the work the staff has done to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

“The set-up we have here in Kansas City at the two facilities, both the stadium and the practice fields, it’s a very safe environment,” tight end Travis Kelce said Thursday. “I feel very safe, comfortable as can be going into training camp.”

In a video conference call, some of his teammates echoed those sentiments.

“We just wanted to be safe,” linebacker Anthony Hitchens said. “I have a 14-month-old. I have a wife, and I just want to be safe. And I feel like Rick (Burkholder) and the staff did an amazing job.”

Their teammates Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Damien Williams have opted out of the season, however.

Duvernay-Tardif, also a doctor who’s been working in a long-term care facility this offseason, said he couldn’t risk spreading the virus to play football. Williams said in an interview Thursday that his mother is battling cancer right now.

The Chiefs have shown nothing but respect for their decisions.

“Love those guys, doesn’t make me feel a grudge about either one of them,” Kelce said. “I totally respect what they’re doing.”

Now, the rest of the team knows staying healthy depends on them.

“(A) lot of this is going to fall on us being responsible once we leave outside the facility, so I’m more than sure I’ll be preaching that all season,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said.

“You should go straight home afterward. You really shouldn’t leave your home, especially without a mask. You definitely shouldn’t leave home to congregate with a lot of people.”

And speaking of masks, Kelce made his stance on wearing one very clear Thursday.

“Wearing a mask is, if you want to get down to the nitty gritty about it, it’s life or death for a lot of people,” he said. “Wearing a mask is the first thing you can do from saving somebody else.”

And from the looks of it, the Chiefs are complying with their new normal, ready to do whatever it takes to run it back — safely.

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