St. Joseph, Mo. A not-so-funny thing happened to Charlie Weis on his way to training camp.
A piece of his left knee broke off.
On Monday, finally cleared to speak with the media, the Kansas City offensive coordinator and former Notre Dame head coach explained why he’s been hobbling around the practice field for 10 days, walking on a cane when he climbs out, with difficulty, of his motorized cart.
“I already had some problems in my knee, and the Wednesday before training camp a piece of it broke off,” Weis said. “So that’s why I’m the injured reserve coach.”
Weis’ condition had been the big mystery of training camp because head coach Todd Haley had refused to say what happened to his old friend, insisting that if he did, “Charlie will get mad at me.”
Indeed, Weis was not happy discussing the injury. He said he would have surgery “when the season’s done, hopefully mid-February.”
Weis also wears a heavy brace on his left leg. But the bad knee has not seemed to hamper his coaching the first 10 days.
“Charlie could coach us lying flat on his back,” said guard Ryan Lilja.
After the first few days, Weis was driving a different cart.
“At first I felt like I was in Price Chopper, the first cart they got me,” he said, referring to a super market chain. “But then they got me something a little bit easier to lift your leg up.”
Steadying himself with his cane, he was asked if the knee required nightly icing.
“I take care of myself. But let’s talk about football,” he said.
Fired by Notre Dame in 2009 with a five-year record of 35-27, Weis sat out the 2009 season while Haley, a first-year head coach, served as his own offensive coordinator and the Chiefs went 4-12.
He agreed to join Haley, a friend from his New York Jets days, this season. He is also reunited with general manager Scott Pioli and several other members of the staff who all had served together on the Super Bowl-winning staff of the New England Patriots.
When he took the Chiefs job, everyone wondered how these two strong-minded alpha males would get along, especially since Weis used to be Haley’s boss.
He and Haley wondered, too.
“I think that the most important thing before I got here is with us to feel comfortable with the flipping of roles,” Weis said. “We talked about it long before I got here, because the media’s obvious reaction was going to be, ‘They’re two offensive guys, they’re hardheaded, they’re not going to get along.’
“We talked about that long before I decided to come here because it was important to both of us and to the success of the Kansas City Chiefs that we had to feel comfortable with what our roles were going to be. I’m just happy to be running the offense and using Todd’s input and the rest of the coaching staff to try to get this right.”
Haley has even turned over play-calling, something that Weis said was not a condition of his taking the job.
“That’s not really significant to me,” he said. “What’s significant to me is that whatever he wants, let’s know what it is and let’s go forward. I think too many times too much ego gets involved when it comes to the credit and the blame.
“Trust me,” he added. “I came from a place where you get a lot of credit and a lot of blame. I think I have a lot of experience in that.”