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  • Sports > Columnists > Jason Whitlock

    Jason Whitlock  

    Posted on Thu, Jan. 17, 2008 10:15 PM

    Clark Hunt elevates Herm, weakens Peterson

    When a dictator perpetuus (for life) is rumored to have been assassinated, it is always best to request a viewing of the body.

    So it is with great trepidation that I characterize Clark Hunt’s all-day media blitz Thursday as a funeral for King Carl Peterson. Without a body and a full autopsy, I’m left to speculate.

    Yes, it certainly sounds as if the King is dead, and Hunt spent all day meeting with local media representatives putting a new face atop the Chiefs’ franchise. Clark Hunt doesn’t want the job, but he sure would like Herm Edwards to ascend to it, and, more important, Hunt is willing to weaken Peterson for Herm to climb the ladder.

    By the time I met with Hunt at 3 p.m. in his apartment inside Arrowhead Stadium, he’d already chatted one-on-one with Adam Teicher, Doug Tucker, Soren Petro, Roger Twibell, Jack Harry and a half-dozen other reporters, talk-show hosts and broadcasters at 20- to 30-minute intervals. He started at 7:30 a.m. with an interview on 610 AM and ended with yours truly.

    “I think it’s important that Chiefs fans understand my thoughts about 2007 and where I see the organization going forward,” Hunt explained when asked what he hoped to accomplish on Thursday.

    Why a one-on-one-interview approach? Why not have a group news conference?

    “I wanted to make sure I gave everybody ample time,” Hunt said. “And I find that a press-conference format, if you do well, you get to ask two questions. And there’s no flow to it. You’re talking about one subject over here and then it jumps over here. I think in terms of having a dialogue that is understandable, this is probably a better format.”

    He’s right, of course. Sitting down and holding a conversation with Lamar Hunt’s successor was far more enlightening than shouting relevant questions between radio reporter Rhonda Moss’ grandstanding barbs/queries and TV football expert Karen Kornacki’s syrupy attempts at playing news-conference kissyface.

    The interviews felt personal, sincere and forthright. They created a feeling of starting over, which is exactly what the Chiefs are doing … I think.

    “There’s been a big shift in the last 18 months,” Hunt said. “The Chiefs used to be part of my responsibility. But clearly with my dad passing, things just had to change. And it’s now the majority of my time, and it will continue to grow over the next two years.

    “For my family certainly it’s the most visible asset, but it’s also the most important asset from an emotional standpoint. I have a passion to compete. I like competing. And I like being successful. I don’t want to be associated with the organization if we’re not running it in a way that gives us a chance at really winning a Super Bowl.”

    Wow. When was the last time we’ve heard that from ownership of the Chiefs or the Royals? Not since Ewing Kauffman passed.

    I didn’t spend a bunch of time badgering Hunt about his retention of Peterson. He’d answered those questions pretty thoroughly earlier in the day. I did want to flush out his reasoning as it related to retaining Peterson.

    Would it be fair to say that the main reason to hold on to Carl is because, in your opinion, that’s the best way to support Herm Edwards?

    “I do believe that,” Hunt responded. “Carl is the guy that hired Herm. The two of them work well together. To have the best chance of success in 2008, having Carl here makes a lot of sense.”


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    To reach Jason Whitlock, call 816-234-4869 or send e-mail to jwhitlock@kcstar.com. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com