Chiefshuddle.com: First off I want to say what a personal pleasure this is to conduct this interview with you and I thank you and Domann & Pittman LLC for taking the time to make this interview possible.
Chiefshuddle.com: Let me start with a simple question to help the fans get to know you a little better on a more personal level. Who is Shaunard Harts from your own perspective?
Shaunard Harts: Shaunard Harts is a loving father and a devoted husband who has been giving the opportunity to live out his childhood dream as a player in the National Football League.
Chiefshuddle.com: You played split end, tailback and safety at Boise State, which position did you prefer and why do you feel that you are a better fit at defensive back?
Shaunard Harts: I preferred tailback because as a tailback three-fourths of the time you’re involved in the play. Whether it’s running the ball or picking up a blitzing LB. Plus my picture was always in the paper and I loved the attention. I feel that DB is a better fit for me because I love to hit rather than being hit. I love being one of the bad guys on the field. There’s no sound better than hearing the fans going OOOOOHHHH after a great hit. I also like the challenge the positions brings to the game. It takes skills to play DB because a WR or TE knows the route he’s running and it’s my job to figure that out while running backwards.
Chiefshuddle.com: The Chiefs defense has been one of the lowest ranked defenses in the league for the past several consecutive seasons. What do you feel that the major problems have been and how would you go about fixing it?
Shaunard Harts: With each team we’ve faced, different phases of our defense broke down. We’ll start the game off fast and mellow out at the wrong time. We’ve also dominated teams in some halves and some how let them back in the game. Our major problem is our consistency as a defense and as individuals. I’m going to prepare myself this off-season with consistency as my main goal knowing it’s going to help fix our problems.
Chiefshuddle.com: Can you give any insight on the reason that the Chiefs secondary seemed to be giving up the big play in the passing game so often last season when it appeared statistically that the Chiefs had one of the better pass rushing defenses in the league as far as sacks and QB hurries?
Shaunard Harts: With a new defense, different techniques are required and after being taught something the same way for three years it’s hard to change old habits in a year. When something on the back-end breaks down, it’s magnified by ten because it’s either a big play or even worse a TD. Once we get comfortable in our new system you’ll see a big difference.
Chiefshuddle.com: You have primarily been a special teams player and have done quite well but recently you have gotten playing time at both free safety and strong safety do to injuries to both Greg Wesley and Jerome Woods, as well as extra time as defensive back in the nickel and dime packages. Which safety position do you prefer to play and where do feel you will be contributing the most in the future?
Shaunard Harts: I like playing them both actually. At FS you’re the general of the back-end making sure everyone is on the same page. While at SS you’re a big role in the run game at the same time watching the TE. As of right now I really don’t have any idea what roll I’ll be in next season because I haven’t had a chance to talk with our coaches. That will not affect the way I train or prepare because I’ve learned that you never know when your opportunity is going to come so if you stay ready you’ll never have to get ready.
Chiefshuddle.com: You are a restricted free agent this off-season, do you see that future being with the Kansas City Chiefs?
Shaunard Harts: I believe so. As of right now I don’t know if other teams have any interest in me but I know that the Chiefs believe in me enough to bring me back.
Chiefshuddle.com: Dick Vermeil and Carl Peterson recently spoke of their displeasure in the play of Greg Wesley, Jerome Woods and William Bartee after being given new contracts last season. There was even mention of competition for starting jobs in camp. What does this mean for Shaunard Harts in 2005?
Shaunard Harts: If I’m given the chance to become a starter I’m going to push that other person so hard for the job knowing that if he beats me out that I’ve just made our team better because I’ve made him that much better.
Chiefshuddle.com: Every year around this time NFL roster cuts rear their ugly heads. The first to be cut from the Chiefs squad was Vonnie Holliday. From a player’s perspective how does the news of these cuts effect you mentally and do you see more of them coming?
Shaunard Harts: Speaking for myself, it depends on what kind of relationship you’ve had with that teammate. I hate to see someone who’s put in all the hard work and is a real contributor to this team be let go. At the same time I also know that this is a business and learned to move on. The show doesn’t stop because of one lost performer. We all expect the person who replaces that player to do the same job or even better or they’ll be replaced also. It’s a never ending process. I can’t speak on what the future holds, it’s out of my control.
Chiefshuddle.com: What goals do you have in mind for the 2005 season going into training camp?
Shaunard Harts: My goal is consistency and to become a starter while keeping up my level of play on Special Teams.
Chiefshuddle.com: I have seen quite a bit of talk from Chiefs fans all over about your performance at safety last season being every bit as good and sometimes mentions of better than the current starting safeties for the Kansas City defense. How do you feel when you hear comments like that coming from the fans getting ready to go into your fifth year of training camp in the NFL?
Shaunard Harts: It’s always nice to hear fans appreciate your performance and support you. I would like to take this time to say “Thank You” to the fans out there that support me. Your cheers play a big part in the way I play this game and keeps me motivated week end week out.
Chiefshuddle.com: Are you anticipating any additional significant personnel changes with the team and or the coaching staff in the off season outside of what we have seen so far and will any of them effect you and your position specifically?
Shaunard Harts: I try not to worry about who’s coming or leaving. As long as I keep preparing myself the way I do it really doesn’t matter who they bring in. Competition brings the best out of me.
Chiefshuddle.com: Once again, I appreciate your time today and good luck on the upcoming season.
Interview courtesy of: Domann & Pittman LLC – Sports representation and management