Money and the chance for success are always important for free agents.
But when Tyrann Mathieu found the Chiefs last offseason, he found far more.
Mathieu said on the “At Home with Linda and Drew Scott” podcast that the feeling he got from the Chiefs and coach Andy Reid was different from anything else he’s known.
“He made it feel like a family atmosphere. He made everybody feel like they were a part of it, and I could feel that even when I was recruited by these people,” Mathieu said, via Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star. “Once I got in the building, it was the same thing. I think from top to bottom, they make it feel like family. I think it’s kind of understated. You’re dealing with a lot of alpha males and you expect them to come to work and be ready to work.
“But if you’re able to create a certain environment for these players, you’re able to get the best out of them and family environments tend to get the best out of alpha males and different guys like that.”
Having a sense of comfort — as well as a certain ownership of the defense — was important to Mathieu.
“For us, especially if you look at our season, we all got together in April. A new coach, new coordinator, new defense,” he said. “For us, it took us a good minute to kind of begin to really start trusting one another. I don’t think it’s really that you’re doubting the next man’s ability. It’s just everybody’s new to this system, and things are changing.
“Around November, we really started to click defensively. At that point we could tell that everything we were doing was starting to pay off: all the Thursdays getting together, and grabbing dinner on the road before the game, all the defense sitting on one part of the plane so we were able to talk and communicate. I think the more and more you’re able to do that and be around a person, I think naturally you want to do well for that person. I think that’s really what we were able to do.”
Those are the things every team and every coach says they want to create. Reid has been able to make it real in Kansas City.