KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some players with the Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams reportedly balked at the prospects of playing on the damaged turf of Estadio Azteca in Mexico City for Monday night's game, but Chiefs linebacker Reggie Ragland said he wasn't one of them.
“I could see where some guys were coming from,” Ragland said. “Not me personally. You could play in this parking lot and I'd have been ready to go regardless.”
Ragland said he hadn't talked with any of this teammates about the field conditions at the stadium before the NFL made the decision Tuesday to move the game to The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“I just saw it on Twitter like everybody else,” Ragland said. “I was at home laying down on my off day and I saw it.”
Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt also said he was not aware of any of his team's players expressing concern about the field or refusing to play if the game took place in Mexico City.
“I read some of the articles, I think they were mostly citing players from the Rams,” Hunt said. “I'm sure our guys were worried about it too as they heard the field may not be in great shape.”
Ragland certainly had reason to worry if wanted. He started training camp on the non-football injury list due to swelling in his knee. The condition developed after working out on an artificial surface during a vacation in Mexico. But he professed no worries about playing on the damaged turf at Estadio Azteca if required.
“If we had played down there, I would have figured it out,” Ragland said.
Both the Rams and the Chiefs have a bye week following this Monday's game, which prompted questions whether the league considered pushing the game back a week in an effort to keep the contest in Mexico City. Ragland said he didn't hear any rumors to that effect.
“I had no idea, I'm just an innocent bystander,” Ragland said with a laugh. “I just show up and do what I'm told.”
While Ragland said the relocation doesn't affect his preparation for the game, fans planning to attend the contest find themselves in a frustrating position, which Hunt said he understands.
“Our thoughts have really been with the fans, both the local fans in Mexico who were planning and looking forward to attending the game, as well as our fans in Kansas City who were going to make the trip,” Hunt said. “I know that for a lot of them the change in logistics at this time of year is very, very difficult and our thoughts are with them this week.”
Hunt said the team would help fans who had tickets to the game receive refunds or exchange for tickets to the game in Los Angeles. Since the game was ostensibly a home game for the Rams all along, Hunt said the club has no idea how many Chiefs fans plan to travel to Mexico City for the game.
“We're talking about ideas internally about how we can do something for our season ticket holders who were planning to attend the game,” Hunt said.