RIVER FALLS, WIS. After 15 practices in nine days, Kansas City Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham said his team needed a rest.
Cunningham put the Chiefs through a spirited practice Saturday morning before giving his players the rest of the day and today off. The team will get back to business Monday when the Minnesota Vikings visit training camp for a pair of practices.
Linebacker Ron George
"I hope we worked them hard enough they'll think about getting rest," Cunningham said. "But they need this. They need some space. They need to get away from the pressure, and I'm looking forward to having them come back Sunday night."
At Saturday morning's practice, the Chiefs appeared excited about the break. Linebacker Ron George was one of the most vocal cheerleaders during drills and said the extra energy displayed by the players was a direct result of their respect for Cunningham.
"We had to come out and show Gun that we appreciate everything he's done so far in camp and for the time off," George said. "We had a difficult offseason and we've got a lot of new guys in camp, so everybody has really had to dedicate themselves to making this year our best year. For some of the players we lost, for some of the new players, and really for Gun because he's done everything he can to put together a winning organization and it's time we give back a little bit and show him how much we appreciate it."
George called this year's training camp, "the most organized camp I've ever been in."
He also said he is looking forward to hitting someone in a different color jersey when the Vikings practice with the Chiefs.
"You'll see a little bit of violence," he predicted. "We're all teammates here and so we take care of each other. But come Monday you're going to see violent hitting. You're going to see guys getting after it. You're going to see the Kansas City Chiefs in their true form, which is rough, tough and rumble."
Cunningham said he didn't anticipate the same level of violence that marred a similar practice session with the New Orleans Saints last training camp. That session had to be canceled early after a series of brawls broke out between the two teams.
"Tempers flare, but I don't want any of that," he said. "I hope we have a good practice against them. I know they're doing some different things than they have in the past, so that will be good for us to work against them."