KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Despite the continuing NFL labor uncertainty that threatens to at least delay next week's scheduled start to training camp, officials at Missouri Western in St. Joseph are planning for an on-time Chiefs arrival.
Under the old collective-bargaining agreement between the league and the players, teams could begin training camp up to 15 days before their first preseason game. Assuming the same rule is included in the new labor contract, the Chiefs would be eligible to begin camp Thursday, July 28.
Their first preseason game is scheduled for Aug.12 against Tampa Bay at Arrowhead Stadium.
"The Chiefs have been very positive about wanting to have camp at Western again this year," said Dan Nicoson, Missouri Western's interim athletic director. "If it's at all possible, that's what the plan will be."
Before that can happen, owners and players must hammer out a new agreement. For that reason, Nicoson and other Missouri Western officials are watching each day's labor developments closely.
"We have already begun here to prepare for the camp," he said. "We've been putting fences around the practice field, setting up bleachers, gravelling some areas, putting together all the housing plans at the residence halls and getting the rooms ready the way they want them."
Part of the school's preparations includes making the training camp experience better for fans who attend the team's open sessions.
"We're going to relocate concessions closer to the practice field," Nicoson said. "We're working on a different approach to parking."
No matter when camp begins, the Chiefs would have to vacate Missouri Western by Aug. 18, the day before a scheduled preseason game against the Ravens in Baltimore.
If the start of training is delayed, the Chiefs wouldn't be able to make up for lost time in St. Joseph at the tail end of camp. Should camp overlap with the first day of school for Missouri Western students, the conclusion of camp might take place at the team's facilities here in Kansas City.
"We have to open school and have students start moving in to the residence halls," Nicoson said. "So it could be a two-week camp here instead of a three-week camp, for example."
Players and owners continued on Monday to work toward ending the four-month lockout, the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987. Lawyers for both sides met in New York, where they were joined in the afternoon by a court-appointed mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan.