|01-03-2006, 05:12 PM|
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Conversation with Carl Peterson
Q: What are your goals heading into 2006?
PETERSON: “I just think the obvious is the hope and desire to sustain the run of offense that we played for the last four years and continue to improve the defense and I think our defense did improve this year. I think it was measurable on the field as well as off the field and it is the goal to continue to work on aspects of the special teams. We can and will improve on that, but all of those things certainly go into my thinking in the selection of the next football coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Q: What are the Chiefs like cap-wise going into 2006?
PETERSON: “We are going to be fine. We are a little heavy right now, quite frankly, but we have been through this the last couple of months on what moves we would have to make regarding the cap. One of the problems we have right now is that we are not sure what the cap number is because, as you know, the National Football League Management Council continues to negotiate with the NFL Players Association on an extension of the current CBA. I think we are all anxious to know if that is going to come to fruition and we certainly hope so since it would have huge implications on the cap.”
Q: Do you anticipate a situation cap-wise when Dick Vermeil came in when where there were a bunch of salaries you had to unload with QB Elvis Grbac, DT Chester McGlockton?
PETERSON: “Not to the same degree and again, we are working with a sliding number right now that the management counsel gave us which it said could go up based upon an extension of the CBA, so we don’t have a certain number, just a ballpark number.”
Q: Did you or were you going to ask for permission from the Jets to talk to Herm Edwards?
PETERSON: “I am not going to comment on that speculation or who I am talking to, who I may talk to, or who I may not talk to. I just would prefer to keep that confidential. I know that won’t help you, but that is what I am going to do. That is how I have done it in the past but I enjoy listening to your speculations.”
Q: Did you talk to Al Saunders yesterday?
PETERSON: “I did and I thought it went well. We began the process as I told him it’s the beginning of an interview, if you will. It was a lot less formal and one of the reasons obviously is that I have known Al since ‘74. It went well.”
Q: The way the offense has played the last five years and considering the defensive struggles are you leaning towards a defensive-minded coach?
PETERSON: “I am not leaning towards offense or defense in any particular manner. I am going to visit some people, but I won’t tell you who. There obviously are some people who are defensive or offensively-oriented that I want to speak with because I want to hear what they have to say.”
Q: With all the offensive numbers that Coach Vermeil talked about, why wouldn’t you want to lock in Al Saunders?
PETERSON: “Number one, we have a rule in the National Football League that I am going to follow. There are also very many talented candidates out there that I want to interview and talk to. I owe that to the Lamar Hunt family. Al Saunders is certainly a candidate and a consideration. Like I said, I know Al’s strengths and his weaknesses. We had a very good interview yesterday and it’s not concluded. Al also needs to pursue some opportunities and take specific interviews that he has, and then there are other considerations more than just the offensive side of the football.”
Q: How many people have you talked to so far?
PETERSON: “I can’t tell you that. According to speculation probably about 10.”
Q: With all the other openings around the league, clearly that makes more competition to get the best man this job?
PETERSON: “Sure, but that happens every year, this year a few more than normal, if you will. Obviously, I want a candidate who wants to be the head football coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. I’d like to think this is a pretty good place for any guy who wants to be a head coach in the National Football League. We have tried to over the years establish a very solid foundation and it begins with the ownership and a very stable situation. Hopefully that candidate will present himself and, like I said, I have some people I want to talk to and I am going to talk to.”
Q: Because there are so many openings won’t that make you move quicker than you otherwise would have?
PETERSON: “No, I am not putting a timeframe on it and I can’t do that at this particular time. There are candidates that we can’t talk to right now because they are in the playoffs and there are some very talented people out there. The process will move along as swiftly as I can make it, but I also want to make the right decision for Kansas City.”
Q: What about Gunther Cunningham? What is his status here? Is that going to be a decision that rests with the new head coach?
PETERSON: “I am not going to speculate on that right now specific to coaches on our staff and who will be retained. It’s going to be obviously the decision of the next head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Q: Are all the assistant coaching contracts up in February?
PETERSON: “They are all up. Everybody coincided with the head football coach. That was by design.”
Q: Would you be willing to part with a first-round draft choice to get whoever you wanted?
PETERSON: “I am not going to speculate on that. Anytime I have to part with a number one draft choice it’s painful. Sometimes based on what transpires after that it’s a lot less painful, and I pointed out a guy here today that QB Trent Green was a wonderful first-round draft choice (acquired in exchange for a first-round pick) and I still put QB Joe Montana in that category.”
Q: Would you be willing to do that though to get the coach that you wanted?
PETERSON: “I am not going to speculate on anything specific to that right now.”
Q: You said you talked to Al Saunders yesterday. Have you met face-to-face with anyone else?
PETERSON: “I am not going to answer that.”
Q: Is it also your thinking that this would be the last head coach that you hire?
PETERSON: “I would think so. When Lamar and Clark Hunt asked me last year to re-up for another four years starting this February I said this will be the last ride for me. I have been here a long time and love it and I have the best ownership in the National Football League and I think even outside the NFL. But, yes I certainly would like to think that this next head football coach is going to be here and be here longer than this guy (Peterson).”
Q: Does that impart any extra urgency in your mind to the importance to get somebody that you would hopefully leave here past your tenure?
PETERSON: “I am looking for the best guy that I think take this franchise to the last step of the playoffs and a World Championship. I am going to continue to pursue that. That is my charge and my responsibility and frankly, I look forward to it.”