Chiefs’ John Dorsey says talks with Berry, Poe ‘very positive’

Kansas City, Mo. (ap) — For a man who hates to discuss contracts, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey spent a whole lot of time Thursday doing precisely that during an end-of-the-season teleconference.

He even addressed his own contract.

Dorsey and coach Andy Reid have five-year deals that expire after next season, and there has been speculation that Dorsey could be the heir apparent in Green Bay. That is where he became a special teams standout and got his start as a front-office executive.

But without saying with any certainty he will be in Kansas City for the long haul, Dorsey did seek to reassure the Chiefs fanbase that he is not done building the franchise into a winner.

“We said long ago, ‘Check your ego, roll up your sleeves and build,'” Dorsey said. “From my family’s perspective and mine, this has been the greatest four years of my life. I love this city, I love this team, I love this community. I think this is one of the most stable franchises in the NFL.

“I love coming to work every day. I don’t know what more I can say.”

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt has been clear in his desire to sign Dorsey and Reid to extensions, but the most visible member of the ownership family is just as reticent to discuss business decisions.

As for the rumors linking Dorsey to the Packers?

“I didn’t pay much attention. Nobody asked me about it,” he said. “All I know is I’m having fun and we, from an organizational standpoint, have made strides every year.”

The Chiefs went 12-4 and won their first AFC West title since 2010 this past season, earning the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and a first-round bye. The homefield advantage didn’t do any good as the Chiefs lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 18-16. It was another season that ended in bitter disappointment for a fanbase accustomed to them.

It also may have been the final game in Kansas City for safety Eric Berry and defensive tackle Dontari Poe, both of whom can become free agents. Berry played last season under the franchise tag and said last week he will not do so again, and that means the Chiefs may have to pay handsomely to lock up one of the leaders of their defense with a long-term deal.

And if they do that, it becomes even more difficult to keep Poe. The big defensive tackle will have no shortage of suitors, and the Chiefs only have so much room under the salary cap.

“First off, I think Eric Berry had a fantastic season. Everybody within this organization, the community, has the utmost respect for that guy,” Dorsey said. “We’ve had very positive conversations with his representatives … Hopefully two sides can come together and mesh this thing out.”

Dorsey also said he’s had “good conversations” with Poe’s agents, and he hopes those will continue into the future. But he did not give any sort of timetable for coming to an agreement.

The free agency period officially begins March 9.

In other news, Dorsey said he was happy that his protégé, Chris Ballard, was able to land the GM job in Indianapolis. Dorsey said the two of them have had conversations but that he doesn’t anticipate Ballard hiring anybody from his own pro personnel staff.

“The Colts got a good man. Energetic, very personable, very smart,” Dorsey said. “When you begin to have success like this franchise has, you might expect to lose one or two guys.”

Dorsey declined to say whether he has interest in the Cowboys’ Tony Romo, or any other upgrade at quarterback. Reid has been noncommittal about Alex Smith being the starter going forward, but Dorsey said that “we’ve said all along that he’s the starter. I don’t know what else to say. He’s led this franchise to three playoffs in four seasons, which is pretty good in my eyes.”

Dorsey also said his staff already has put together a plan for free agency, and that he is putting together a draft board. So far his focus has been on defensive players, but he anticipates work beginning on quarterbacks and other offensive prospects next week.

This year’s draft is April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

“It’s time to move forward,” Dorsey said. “We always try to build and restock the shelves, and that’s kind of the phase we’re going through right now.”