Last updated: Friday, 21-Feb-2003 19:45:53 CST
June 20, 2003
UW-RF to Host Chiefs for 13th Training Camp
By Matthew Kukla
UW-RF News Bureau
The Kansas City Chiefs will open its 13th training camp at UW-River Falls in July, and will include hosting the Minnesota Vikings for two days of practices.
The Chiefs will arrive on July 19 and practice for nearly a month, departing on Aug. 15. There are two practices on most days during camp, with free admission to general practices. During the camp, there will be two practices per day that are free and open to the public. The morning session will typically run from 8-10 a.m. The two hour afternoon session typically starts at about 4:30 p.m.
As in past years, several special events will be held throughout the camp to give fans an extra insight into the 2002 Chiefs. A highlight for the camp this summer will be a two-day practice with the Minnesota Vikings. Since the Chiefs made the trip out to Mankato in 2002, the Vikings are set to pay a visit to River Falls this summer. The Vikings and Chiefs have set practices times for Wednesday and Thursday July 30 and 31 at the Ramer Field Sports Complex. On July 30, the teams will practice from 10:40 a.m. - 1 p.m. and again from 5:50 - 8 p.m. On July 31, the teams will practice from 8:10 - 10 a.m. and again from 2:40 - 4:30 p.m.
The Vikings offense will be a good early camp test for the Chiefs defense. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper, wide receiver Randy Moss and running back Michael Bennett are three of the top offensive talents in the NFL. Former Chiefs wide receiver, Derrick Alexander, will also be in town to practice against his former teammates.
Another special event at Chiefs camp this summer will be Family Fun Night, set for Friday, July 25. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. and the autograph session featuring all of the players and coaches will be held from 6:30-7 p.m. Practice under the lights at Ramer Field will follow and a fireworks display after practice will culminate the festivities. There will be food, music, games and other activities to keep the young and old alike entertained throughout the event.
What has turned into a very popular event at the Chiefs Camp is the annual Punt, Pass & Kick competition that will be held July 26 at the Ramer Field Sports Complex. Competition will begin at 2:30 p.m. with registration starting at 1:30 at the field. Girls and boys will compete together in six age groups of 8-13 years old. The event is free and all participants will receive a ribbon. Trophies will be given to the top three place finishers in each division. In each of the past two years, Coach Dick Vermeil has presented the trophies to the winners.
Senior Citizen Day and Kids Day, other popular Chiefs camp events, will also be held this year. Senior Citizen Day is set for July 24 at the morning practice. There will be two Kids Days this year - July 21 and Aug. 13 - also at the morning practices. For more information on either event or to register, call 715/425-3771.
During practices there also will be the opportunity for fans to get a closer look of the Chiefs training facilities by taking a tour of the Robert P. Knowles Physical Education and Recreation Center and Hunt Arena.
Coach Vermeil is excited about the season's prospects for the Chiefs.
"After three years you get going and you become sort of disciplined in your profile. The new guys you bring in - if they're the right guys - add to it. You bring in better players, too, and it adds competition," he said in a recent interview.
In his third season, Vermeil believes his team has built a solid offensive base with veterans like All-pro tight end Tony Gonzalez, quarterback Trent Green, wide receivers Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison, and 2001 NFL rushing champion Priest Holmes. Defensively, the Chiefs look strong with a good foundation returning including linebacker and Wisconsin native Mike Maslowski, last year's sack leader Eric Hicks, and a strong secondary with safety Greg Wesley and cornerback Eric Warfield.
An exciting addition to the Chiefs this year is 1st round draft pick Larry Johnson, a running back from Penn State. One of last year's Heisman Trophy finalists, Johnson will look to contribute by perhaps backing up superstar Holmes. Extensive coverage and daily updates of all the action will be available on UW-RF's award-winning web site www.uwrf.info/chiefs.
Fans are encouraged to call the Chiefs Hotline at 1-800-4-KCC-KCC for the latest 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, log on to www.saintcroixriver.com. -30-
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