NFL Wire News

Chiefs in search of O-line for 2015


The Sports Xchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Head coach Andy Reid kicked off his third season of Organized Team Activities with the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday and 79 of 90 players on the roster took part in the workout.

“I thought the guys got to work at a little better speed and that’s always helpful,” Reid said.

A few injuries, including one surgery, the arrival of a baby and poor weather in the Southeast kept the turnout down compared with the previous two seasons when 84 players was the lowest total for both opening practices in 2013-14.

“I thought it was really good work, a clean practice,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “You don’t have pads on, but you want to get the most out of it. Guys worked at good speed.”

There was a lot of attention on the Chiefs’ offensive line, the position group that needs to show the most improvement over last season’s performance. There could be four new starters from last season, including guard Ben Grubbs and second-round draft choice Mitch Morse.

“We are going to find the five best guys; that’s what we are trying to get to,” Reid said. “I really don’t care where they play. I just want the five best. Then we line up and play.”

Two of the five “best guys” will be Grubbs at left guard and third-year left tackle Eric Fisher. In the mix for the other three spots are Morse (center/guard), Zach Fulton (center/guard), Jeff Allen (guard/tackle), Donald Stephenson (guard/tackle), Paul Fanaika (guard), Derek Sherrod (tackle) and Eric Kush (center).

“I don’t really care,” Reid said. “Find the best guys and go with it.”

The biggest name among the 11 players that were not working on Monday was outside linebacker Justin Houston. Last year’s NFL leader in sacks (22) has been absent throughout the offseason program, spending his time working out and preparing at home in Georgia. He was designated the club’s franchise player.

The team and Houston’s agent continue to talk about a long-term contract. They began those talks more than 18 months ago.

Also missing the first OTA was safety Eric Berry. His 2014 season was cut short when he was diagnosed in November as having Hodgkins lymphoma with a tumor in his chest. Berry began treatments in Atlanta in December and those continued through early May. The Chiefs have not publicly put a timetable on his return.

“Eric is doing well,” Reid said. “He’s been through all the treatments and now the doctor is going to sit down and go over exactly the results of all that. Everything up to this point has been very positive from the doctor and from Eric. I think we are headed in the right direction.”

There was one new name on the injury report. Tight end Demetrius Harris was off the field after undergoing his second foot surgery in the last six months.

The injury knocked Harris out of the 2014 season and last week team doctors decided the earlier procedure did not provide healing and stability for the former college basketball player.

“The doctors feel pretty confident about this one,” Reid said. “We knew there was a possibility of this happening (a second surgery). We feel pretty good he’s going to be OK.”

Safety Husain Abdullah and defensive end Allen Bailey were both absent because of travel plans being disrupted by bad weather in Texas, Georgia and throughout the Southeast. Second-year safety Daniel Sorensen was absent after his wife was in labor.

Also missing due to NFL rules about underclassmen participation were first-round draft choice cornerback Marcus Peters and third-round cornerback Steven Nelson. Their schools (Washington and Oregon State) are on the quarter system and they will not be available to work on the field until the team’s minicamp in the middle of June.

Not participating because of injury and/or rehab were quarterback Tyler Bray (knee), running back Cyrus Gray (knee) and guard Jarrod Pughsley (hamstring).

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