ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid watched his team work out in pads for the first time since their Super Bowl triumph last February and saw his players’ energy rise.
“Naturally it does that,” Reid said. “But I like the way they did it, how they got after each other.”
The defending champions ratcheted up the competition for an hour, 40 minutes in sweltering conditions as the heat index soared into the mid-90s.
The air wasn’t all that was hot, like when cornerback Dicaprio Bootle continued hacking at the football in the grasp of tight end Travis Kelce after a play. Cornerback Lamar Jackson raised eyebrows when he delivered a late hit on receiver Kekoa Crawford out of bounds.
Reid doesn’t mind trash-talking and spirited play as long as players keep their wits about them.
“They’re going to jaw,” Reid said. “It’s hot, humid, they’re going to jaw a little bit. As long as there are no punches thrown we’re all right.”
The Chiefs dug in during practice for three separate periods of 11-on-11, along with a nine-on-seven run session.
However, the most anticipated session in Friday’s practice focused on offensive and defensive linemen facing off in pass-rushing scenarios.
“It’s you mano a mano,” guard Trey Smith said. “All the technical details, every little piece matters. Being able to lock in those little seconds and get your job done.”
Linebacker Willie Gay said the hard, hot practice was tailor made for Reid. Although it was grueling, “I told the guys, as long as we continue to get better, it’s going to make the games and preseason even easier, and we’ll start winning,” he continued.
There’s rust to knock off whenever the pads first come on.
“You have some things that you got to clean up, some things you can be a little tighter technique-wise, but it’s always good to put the pads back on,” Smith said. “It’s always good knowing the season’s around the corner.”
Off the field, defensive tackle Chris Jones held out for seventh day and Reid, who hasn’t communicated with Jones recently, didn’t know when the holdout would end.
“We’re moving fast and furious even though he’s not here,” Reid said.
The 29-year-old-Jones is set to earn $19.5 million in base salary this season in the final year of a four-year extension signed in 2020. The All-Pro is seeking an extension that would make him the league’s second-highest-paid defensive tackle behind Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald, whose contract sports an annual average value of $31.67 million.
Jones has been fined $50,000 fine for each missed day of training camp missed, a total that’s grown to $350,000 00 so far. If Jones doesn’t report by Aug. 13, he will be assessed an additional fine of $1.147 for missing the team’s preseason opener against New Orleans.
NOTES: Linebacker Nick Bolton returned to practice Friday following a brief illness, but fellow linebacker Drue Tranquill exited practice early due to a sprained neck. Defensive end Mike Danna left with a strained calf while tight end Jody Fortson is undergoing further examination on a shoulder injury. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney expects to miss the remainder of training camp after surgery Tuesday for a torn meniscus.
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