June 18, 2004
Chiefs Set to Return to UW-RF for 14th Camp
By Eric A. Page
UW-RF News Bureau
After some uncertainty on whether the Kansas City Chiefs would return to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for its 14th summer training camp, the team will again be on the campus from July 29 to Aug. 21.
The training camp will be very similar to those in the past, offering opportunities for fans to get an up-close look into an NFL training camp, says camp coordinator Mary Halada, who noted that after 13 summers, a routine is an asset.
"We were in competition with many Missouri schools [to be the site for this year's training camp]," Halada said. But UW-RF benefited from the Chiefs' and UW-RF's familiarity with each other, as well as exceptional facilities with more improvements on the way. Halada noted the team will be able to use a new residence hall that is set to open in 2005. Also, Gov. Jim Doyle and the Wisconsin Legislature overwhelmingly supported improvements to the Knowles Center, which serves as the team's locker rooms. That improvement also will be completed in 2005.
Last December the team and the University signed a one-year contract with four optional extensions for subsequent years.
The Chiefs, who won the NFC West Division last year with a regular-season record of 13-3, start summer camp with high expectations. Having several defensive openings, the team addressed that need by selecting Oregon defensive tackle Junior Siavii in the NFL Draft as their first pick. The 6-foot-5-inch, 340-pound Siavii was a force for the Ducks in his senior season.
Other Chiefs draft picks included Pittsburgh tight end Kris Wilson, Georgia Tech outside linebacker Keyaron Fox, Oregon wideout Samie Parker, Idaho State defensive end Jared Allen, Auburn wideout Jeris McIntyre and Syracuse offensive tackle Kevin Sampson.
The core of one of the NFL's most explosive offenses returns in quarterback Trent Green, running back Priest Holmes and tight end Tony Gonzalez. Last season Green threw for more than 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns while Holmes rushed for more than 1,400 yards, racking up an NFL record 27 scores. Gonzalez led the Chiefs receiving corps with more than 900 yards, and exciting receiver/return man Dante Hall scored four times on special teams.
Wisconsin native Mike Maslowski, a graduate of UW-La Crosse, anchors the Chiefs' defense from his linebacker position where he recorded 79 total tackles a season ago. Head Coach Dick Vermeil enters his fourth season with the Chiefs.
The Chiefs will arrive in River Falls on July 28 with the first practice scheduled for Thursday afternoon, July 29. Two practices per day will begin on Friday, July 30, with sessions running from 8 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. on most days. Fan can visit the Web site at www.uwrf.edu/chiefs for the daily schedule or call 1-800-4-KCC-KCC.
Highlighting the month-long training camp will be special events put on by UW-RF including Family Fun Night, Punt, Pass and Kick Competition, Taste of the Chiefs, a Flyfishing Experience, a golf package, as well as Kids' and Seniors' days Another favorite event is the Chiefs' practices with the Minnesota Vikings. The teams will meet Aug. 6-7 at the Vikings' training camp at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn. The Vikings will test the Chiefs' defense with the offensive threats of Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss and Michael Bennett, among others.
Last year the Chiefs and Vikings put together the two best starts in the NFL. The Chiefs eventually lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs while the Vikings didnŐt make the NFC field.
The annual Family Fun Night is tentatively set for Aug. 17 at Ramer Field. Gates open at 4 p.m. with food, music, games and other activities. An autograph session featuring players and coaches will be from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Practice under the lights will follow the autograph session, and a fireworks display will culminate the festivities.
The Punt, Pass and Kick Competition will be July 31 before the afternoon session of practice at Ramer Field with awards being handed out following practice. Competition will begin at 1 p.m. with registration starting at 12:30 at the field, or register online at www.uwrf.edu/chiefs/ppk.form.2004.html. Girls and boys will be divided into six groups (ages 8-13), and everyone will receive a ribbon. Trophies will be given to the top three finishers in each division. In each of the past two years, Coach Vermeil has presented the trophies to the winners.
Senior Citizen Day and Kids' Days, which offer special tours of facilities and food discounts during morning practices, will also be held this year. Kids Days are set for Aug. 2 and Aug. 19. Seniors Day is Aug. 10.
Extensive coverage and daily updates of all the action will be available on UW-RFŐs award-winning Web site, www.uwrf.edu/chiefs. Call the Chiefs' hotline at 1-800-4-KCC-KCC for the information on daily practice times and event dates, which are subject to change.
For information about lodging and other attractions in River Falls and in the nearby scenic St. Croix River Valley, visit www.saintcroixriver.com.
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