KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Inside linebacker Joe Mays admits there were numerous factors that went into his decision to sign a free-agent contract with the Chiefs.
Some of the considerations the sixth-year pro mentioned during Thursday’s media conference call included a good place for his family and a strong locker room atmosphere.
But ultimately, Mays returned to an awareness of Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who drafted Mays in 2008 while with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“It was just like I hadn’t left when I had a chance to see him when I came out there,” Mays said of reuniting with Reid. “He was smiling. I was smiling.
“It was just good to see him. He seems like he’s in good spirits. Everything is going well and it’s just exciting to get back with him because I know the type of person that he is.”
The Chiefs signed Mays on Wednesday to a reported two-year, $6 million deal. His signing fills a void at the inside linebacker position, a spot vacated by a former Eagles teammate of Mays in Akeem Jordan, who is an unrestricted free agent.
While Mays reunites with his former head coach, Mays adds he heard good things about Kansas City from Chiefs unrestricted free agent free safety Quintin Demps, who was also a former Eagles teammate of Mays.
“He said I’m going to love it here, the fans here are great,” Mays said of his conversations with Demps. “It’s just a great place to be, a great organization, a great team, a great family-type atmosphere. He told me about that and I felt I was going to love it from the moment I stepped foot in Kansas City.”
Being in a locker room with chemistry carries importance for Mays, who said he draws the comparison to his college playing days when teammates played for each other.
And one of the common themes among the players in the Chiefs locker room throughout the 2013 season surrounded the importance of having each other’s backs and being unified under Reid’s coaching.
“I heard that’s the type of locker room that these guys have here,” Mays said. “Right now, I want to be a part of that and do something special, and go out there and compete each and every day for each other and try to win.”
Of course, it remains to be seen if Mays will start at inside linebacker when considering the Chiefs drafted Nico Johnson in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
But the signing of Mays marks a second straight offseason the Chiefs have signed a veteran free-agent inside linebacker.
Regardless, Mays understands why the Chiefs brought him aboard.
“The only thing they’ve told me is they’re going to bring me in to compete,” Mays said. “I’ll let everything else play out, just come in there and do what I need to do. Hopefully I’ll carve out a role for myself.”
Mays appears content to allow whatever happens on the field in the coming months settle itself.
For now, he’s elated to be in Kansas City with the man who gave him his professional start.
“Getting a chance to link up with Andy Reid again, that was important to me,” Mays said. “He’s such a great person, a great coach. Why wouldn’t you want to be around someone like that?”
Notes: Mays, who played at North Dakota State, said he’s familiar with Chiefs wide receiver Weston Dressler, who played at North Dakota … “You can’t help but hear about the good players that come out of North Dakota,” Mays said … Mays said he drew interest in free agency, including his 2013 team, the Houston Texans … Former Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Vance Walker is on a two-day visit with the Chiefs, Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star reports.