ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Even the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs is excited to see what Patrick Mahomes II can do.
Clark Hunt doesn't seem worried about putting too much pressure on his young quarterback, either.
The chairman and most visible face of the ownership family said after Saturday's training camp session at Missouri Western State University that he's looking forward to seeing Mahomes under center when the Chiefs open their preseason schedule Thursday night against Houston.
He's is eager for what the second-year pro can do for seasons to come, too.
"There's a lot of excitement here in Kansas City and really around the country about Patrick. He is a young man with a lot of skills, has a very high ceiling," Hunt said. "He's going through the process in learning what it means to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. That learning process will continue during the preseason and I'm sure once we get to the regular season."
Mahomes is taking over on a full-time basis from Alex Smith, who was traded to Washington despite the best year of his career. And the fact that Kansas City is pinning its hopes on its first homegrown quarterback in a generation has energized an already fervent fan base.
Season-ticket sales are robust, and there were about 6,000 fans at practice on Saturday.
"It's very exciting for the franchise from a long-term perspective," Hunt said. "If you can develop your own quarterback who can play at the top of the league, you can create an opportunity over the course of a decade to win a championship, and that's what we hope Patrick does for us."
No pressure, kid.
Hunt has also noticed what many others have this offseason: Chiefs coach Andy Reid has an extra bounce in his step, a byproduct of the fun he's having working with a new, young quarterback.
"I know that's a hard thing to imagine when you're talking about Andy," Hunt said in his annual training camp availability, "but truthfully he seems energized. And that goes all the way back to the preseason, the chance to take a quarterback and mold him, something he's had a lot of success at."
In other news, Hunt declined to discuss the dispute between the league and its players when it comes to protesting during the national anthem. "There's really nothing to report," Hunt said. "Until the league tells us what the policy is, there's nothing really to talk about."
Hunt did say he's spoken to the Chiefs individually and collectively about social justice initiatives, and that the organization was willing to provide human resources and financial resources to help players make a difference with causes that they care about.
"That's not something new for the Chiefs. It's something that's been going on here in Kansas City since my dad brought the team here in 1963," Hunt said. "I've challenged the players to go out there and make a difference, and there's so many that have a great heart and want to spend the time."
Hunt also said the Chiefs are content with using Missouri Western as their training camp base, even though the majority of NFL franchises now hold camp at their usual practice facility.
Hunt and Reid both like the old-school idea of team-building that occurs at camp, even though it's only an hours' drive from Kansas City. Missouri Western has also built and improved its facilities to the point they rival most major colleges and professional franchises.
He also praised the work done by general manager Brett Veach, who has made several controversial moves since taking over last year. Among them was dealing talented but temperamental cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams, a clear attempt at improving the clubhouse culture.
"One thing we really care about as a franchise is the culture and character of the team," Hunt said. "That's something very important to Brett. As he brought in players in free agency and the draft, he made sure those players would be positive contributors to the character of the football team."