RIVER FALLS, WIS. The Kansas City Chiefs broke training camp here Friday and headed back toward Kansas City ahead of tonight's preseason game against Chicago.
Whether the team ever returns to River Falls is a mystery.
Team president and general manager Carl Peterson said he will meet with head coach Dick Vermeil after the team returns to Kansas City to discuss where the Chiefs should train next summer.
But Peterson said it would require "one heck of an offer" to lure the team away from River Falls.
"For us to leave, we have to have one heck of an offer from some institution which would include a guarantee that an NFL team or teams would come to the location and work against us," Peterson said. "If that institution can promise me those things, then I would seriously consider it."
The Chiefs have signed a series of two-year agreements with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls to use its facilities for training camp since relocating here from Liberty, Mo., before the 1991 season.
The team has never broken camp without signing a new deal, but this year the Chiefs are departing without a firm commitment for next season. Peterson said one reason the Chiefs picked River Falls was the opportunity to work with other NFL teams that trained nearby. The New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings once all trained close enough to allow the teams to occasionally scrimmage against each other.
But the Saints left La Crosse, Wis., two years ago to train in Louisiana and the Bears just finished their final summer camp at Platteville, Wis., after 18 years. That leaves the Vikings in Mankato, Minn., about 85 miles from River Falls, as the only team in the area to work against. The Chiefs were scheduled to travel to Mankato Aug. 6 but the practice was canceled after the death of Vikings lineman Korey Stringer.
Peterson said competition and climate help determine the team's camp site.
"With the exception of the terrible tragedy across the river in Mankato, we would have worked against the Vikings, and that opportunity still exists here," he said.
Vermeil, who has expressed a desire to move training camp closer to Kansas City, said it was unlikely the team would move its training camp next season.