Retired Chiefs Fan Favorite Sold Newcomer on Signing in KC

Blaine Gabbert

Getty Kansas City Chiefs backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022.

The Kansas City Chiefs lost a trusty veteran in backup quarterback Chad Henne after winning the 2023 Super Bowl.

It was time for Henne to hang ‘em up at age 37, and who could blame him? — Going out on top with a beer in his hand and confetti in the air around him. “Calling it a career,” the long-time signal-caller announced at the time.

Although there was some debate whether or not the Chiefs would pursue a veteran backup to replace Henne in 2023, KC general manager Brett Veach ended up playing it safe, signing Blaine Gabbert to join the QB room headlined by Patrick Mahomes II — but what made Gabbert choose Kansas City?

During a press conference at Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on June 8, the former Super Bowl champion with Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers explained why it was a very easy choice every step of the way.

Chiefs’ Blaine Gabbert Reveals How Chad Henne Helped Him Sign in Kansas City

Sure, it’s a homecoming of sorts for the former Missouri quarterback, but that wasn’t the reason Gabbert gave the KC media when he was asked about his decision to sign with the Chiefs.

“It was pretty easy, just talking to Chad Henne for a while, then having the chance to talk to Coach [Andy] Reid and kind of pick their brains, see what they wanted in a backup, see how Chad enjoyed it [here],” Gabbert replied candidly on June 8.

“Coach Reid has always been a guy and a coach that I’ve watched from afar — how he handles himself, how he handles the organizations that he represents — it’s nothing but first class,” he continued, “and it’s been that way since I’ve been here.”

When asked to elaborate on Henne’s message, Gabbert voiced that the recent retiree “loved it” in KC. “He spoke extremely highly of the entire coaching staff, not only Coach Reid but Nags [Matt Nagy], [David] Girardi, all the guys that we work with on a daily basis.”

“I think [Henne] was here for five years, and he’s somebody that I trust his opinion on — being [that] last year I think was his 15th year, so he’s been around the block quite a bit — and he spoke very highly of the organization,” Gabbert concluded. “Really, it was an easy sell at that point.”

Gabbert also named ex-NFL interior offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore and tight end Blake Bell as two other Chiefs veterans — both former and present — that he spoke to before deciding to sign.

Chiefs QB Blaine Gabbert Hypes New LT Donovan Smith

Gabbert also revved up the hype van for new left tackle Donovan Smith, a player he won alongside in Tampa Bay.

“Extremely gifted,” Gabbert praised. “One of the most athletic, physically gifted left tackles that I have seen [in the NFL] going on 13 years now.”

He added that he told Mahomes that Smith is “going to help this team a lot” when the Chiefs decided to bring in the experienced blindside blocker. “He’s going to help solidify that front,” Gabbert went on. “With J.T. [Jawaan Taylor] and Donny [Smith] on the edges, and our interior guys, that’s got to be the best — if not the best — offensive line in the NFL.”

Those are some strong words from the journeyman passer that began his career as the No. 10 overall selection in Jacksonville in 2011. Ironically, Mahomes was also the No. 10 overall pick six years later in 2017.

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