Chiefs coach Andy Reid already talking about preparations for next season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs coach Andy Reid is giving the rest of his staff about a week off after their Super Bowl victory parade through downtown Kansas City on Wednesday, then he expects everyone to be back in the building to begin working on next season.

So much for down time.

The Chiefs have a three-peat to think about.

Reid spoke to a small group of reporters Tuesday, two days after the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime in Las Vegas for their second straight championship. There had been unsubstantiated reports that the 65-year-old coach might call it quits after the Super Bowl, and while Reid continually clapped back at such talk in the run-up to the big game, the sight of him in his office — and already talking about next year — should firmly put the notion to rest.

“To win one is tough. To win two, back to back, is really tough,” Reid said. “That’s not an easy thing to do, and to know the effort the guys put into it, the way they stuck together through the highs and lows … that’s gratifying as a head coach.”

The only downside to making Super Bowl runs deep into February, which the Chiefs have done four of the last five years — with three victory parades to show for them — is that it soaks up any opportunity for coaches and staff to catch their breath.

After the Chiefs wind their way toward Union Station, where hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to greet them again, the players will get a break until offseason conditioning begins. But the coaching staff, scouts and the rest of general manager Brett Veach’s staff will get right back to work. The period in which teams can use the franchise tag begins next Tuesday, but the key date is Feb. 27, when the NFL begins its weeklong scouting combine in Indianapolis.

The second week of March brings the start of free agency, the annual league meeting is held near the end of the month in Orlando, Florida, and then teams will put the final touches on their plan for the NFL draft, which is April 25-27 in Detroit.

These are a crucial couple of months for Kansas City if it wants to become the first team to win three straight Super Bowl titles.

Veach expressed hope that the Chiefs will be able to bring back All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, two premier players about to hit free agency, but that could come at a substantial hit to the salary cap.

The Chiefs have several others on the two-deep ready to hit free agency: left tackle Donovan Smith, safety Mike Edwards, offensive guard Nick Allegretti, linebackers Willie Gay Jr. and Drue Tranquill, defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and pass rusher Mike Danna, among others. Some will return on relatively inexpensive deals, but others will command big money elsewhere.

Along with filling holes that open up on the roster, the Chiefs also will look to upgrade a wide receiver corps that led the NFL in dropped passes and struggled throughout much of the season. The free-agent class at the position is deep with Michael Pittman Jr., Tee Higgins, Marquise Brown, Calvin Ridley and Gabe Davis among those that could be available.

The Chiefs could address some of their needs in the draft, though they will be picking near the end of each round again.

“The coaches will take a little bit of time,” Reid said, “but then we’ve got the combine coming up. We’ve got to get ourselves ready for that. And then it just goes from there. We’re in the swing of things after that, once you get to the combine.”

Yet before the combine, free agency or the draft comes the parade, one last celebration of another championship season. And during a meeting with his team Tuesday, Reid gave a parting message about the impending party.

“It’s great to have fun,” he said with a smile, “but you know, be smart.”

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