INDIANAPOLIS -- The period between the Super Bowl and the beginning of the NFL's new calendar year on March 14 normally goes by quietly, but the Kansas City Chiefs punctuated the dreariness with two blockbuster trades dealing away quarterback Alex Smith and Marcus Peters.
Head coach Andy Reid appeared at the NFL's Scouting Combine on Wednesday ready to talk about anything else, however.
"I can't comment on that, so I'm sure you're going to attempt to ask them. I'm going to be rude before that. I'm not going to be able to answer questions dealing with that until we get to the 14th. All of that's off limits."
The departure of Smith surprised few, but the jettisoning of the Pro Bowl cornerback Peters stunned Chiefs fans. While Reid declined to address the specifics of the trades, he delivered a powerful push back against criticism of team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt.
Reid alluded to criticism that Hunt forced Peters out, with speculation that Peters' sideline protests during the national anthem played a role in his departure. But the head coach maintained that Hunt allows himself and general manager Brett Veach a free rein in managing the team's roster.
"He does not interfere with that," Reid said. "Obviously we keep him abreast, but there's no pressure coming from our owner. That's not how it operates at all and so those things that have been said out there, as most of you have heard are way, way out of line."
The deals won't become official until March 14, but the trades, along with the recent announcement that linebacker Derrick Johnson won't return for a 14th season in Kansas City, usher in a youth movement for the Chiefs, and Reid says he's ready for that.
"Young, I'm OK with young," Reid said. "I don't mind that. I've got young coaches too, and to me that's exciting. Guys are eager to learn and what you might lack in a little bit of experience there you gain in that want-to, and that's a good category, if they're wired right, a good category to be in."
The youth movement starts with quarterback Patrick Mahomes poised to take the reins from Smith. Last year's No. 10 pick in the draft from Texas Tech got a taste of NFL action in a season-finale victory over Denver, and the performance cleared the way for Kansas City's busy offseason.
"I thought he played very well in that game," Reid said. "He's got to get his percentage up a little bit on throws. But I liked the way he went about business."
The Chiefs may not be done saying goodbye to veterans, however. The club faces a salary-cap decision on linebacker Tamba Hali, and 13-year veteran punter Dustin Colquitt enters free agency without a new deal.
Uncertainty also surrounds linebacker Dee Ford. The team picked up the fifth-year option for Ford last May. That option became guaranteed for injury, but doesn't become fully guaranteed until after the new league year starts. Ford missed 10 games last season with a back injury that eventually landed him on injured reserve.
If Ford cannot play due to injury, the Chiefs remain on the hook for his $8.72 million contract for 2018. If healthy, however, the Chiefs can cut Ford with no salary-cap penalty. Reid said no decision had been made yet on Ford's status with the team.
"He's making good progress physically, which is a real plus," Reid said. "He's worked extremely hard to get himself back and he looks good right now."
Despite the roster turnover and uncertainty surrounding his squad, Reid seemed ready to face the challenge of moving forward with a new-look Chiefs team in 2018.
"It's kind of today's world in the NFL," Reid said. "Guys change teams and move. We think we have some good young players and feel comfortable with them."
--Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie, but Reid expects a bigger role from the elusive back during the coming season, particularly in the passing game.
"We probably got to do a better job increasing his role this year in the pass game, giving him a little bit more than what he had last year. That's just kind of the natural progression from first year to second year."
Hunt showed enormous promise during training camp last season, but appeared ready to play a backup role behind incumbent starter Spencer Ware. But Ware suffered a serious knee injury during the team's third preseason game, elevating Hunt to starter.
The rookie averaged 17 rushes per game while piling up 1,327 yards for the season. He added 53 receptions for 455 yards and three touchdowns.
But the Chiefs often turned to backup Charcandrick West in obvious passing situations, particularly late in the season. West rushed just 18 times for 72 yards, but caught 27 passes out of the backfield for 150 yards.
In year two, however, Reid feels Hunt can shoulder a larger burden of the offense through the air.
"We probably need to increase the pass part of that a little bit more and expand on his role in the pass game," Reid said.
The Chiefs remain hopeful that Ware can return this season while adding another dimension to the run game. Ware rushed for 921 yards as a starter in 2016, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and adding 33 catches for 447 yards.
"Although a healthy Ware would be a nice problem to have there at that spot," Reid said, "that would be a nice tandem to have back there for sure."