Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the recent NFL Players Association player survey came from the feedback Chiefs players provided regarding the team’s training staff.
The Chiefs finished last, with a D-. And players had one specifically troubling criticism of the staff led by long-time trainer Rick Burkholder.
“They feel discouraged from reporting their injuries,” the survey reported. “They do not feel they get the level of personal care that they should. They fear retribution for speaking up for better care.”
Owner Clark Hunt, addressing the survey results in comments to TheAthletic.com from the league meetings in Arizona, took issue with that results.
“The comments on Rick, I thought, were really surprising,” Hunt said. “The feedback I hear from the players about Rick and our training staff is really, really positive. That didn’t mesh for me.”
Despite Hunt’s objections, he seemed to take the contents of the survey to heart.
“You’re always disappointed when an evaluation comes out and you’re not high,” Hunt said. “As we looked at it, and then talking to [head coach] Andy [Reid], he felt like there were some reasons on some of the things that were mentioned from a football standpoint.”
Hunt nevertheless sees value in the process.
“I think surveys like that are also positive because maybe they show you some blind spots,” Hunt said. “You can always learn from them. . . . If there are things we can improve, we’ll do that. In the long range, those things will be fixed.”
Overall, the team’s ranking in the various categories didn’t reflect the elite level the franchise currently enjoys. If handled properly, it could be something that helps the Chiefs from becoming complacent in their success.