KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The preseason is almost over, and the Kansas City Chiefs are still without their star defensive tackle.
Chiefs defensive stalwart Chris Jones hasn’t been a part of the offseason program and has been collecting daily $50,000 fines for missing training camp, which is now over.
In his latest series of social media interactions with fans, he told one fan that he wouldn’t come back until Week 8, which could see him leaving game checks of $1.1 million per game on the table on top of his fines.
Jones has told fans that he wants to be a Chief for life, but he was also recently seen with movie director Michael Bay who posted on Instagram that Jones has quit the team. The post has since been deleted.
With Jones’ social media interactions, plus Instagram stories that tease him on flights and have oblivious messages, it’s hard to take any public word he says seriously.
Head coach Andy Reid said there’s been no communication between him and Jones.
“I don’t know what’s gonna go there. But whatever happens happens,” Reid said Wednesday. “The game goes on, right? So that’s how it works.”
Jones is in the last year of his four-year, $80 million contract and is holding out for an extension. The $20 million he’s supposed to make this year ranks eighth in the NFL for defensive tackles.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he and other Chiefs talk to Jones consistently. Mahomes tells Jones he loves him and that he will be welcomed back with open arms whenever he’s back.
“I don’t think anyone expected him not to be here now,” Mahomes said Wednesday. “But that’s part of the contract negotiation stuff. I’m not looking down on him for anything like that. But he has stuff that he’s trying to get done that he feels like he needs to get done right now.
“He’s a vital part of this organization.”
With Jones missing camp and all preseason games, it looks unlikely that he will play in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions.
Defensive line coach Joe Cullen said Jones is in great shape as he trains in Miami, but Reid likes for his players to practice with the team for a period of time to get them acclimated to football-playing shape.
It’s hard to replicate that training outside of the facility.
While Jones has been out, Daniel Wise and Matt Dickerson have been playing in the three-technique where Jones usually plays, and Tershawn Wharton has returned to taking practice reps after tearing an ACL last season.
Jones is the center of the defense, but the Chiefs will have to continue to play without him at this point.
“You have to trust the entire defense just like they have to trust the entire offense,” Mahomes said.
“When I’m not in the game, they trust the guy that comes in is going to go out there and make an impact. You’ve seen that with (former backup QB) Chad (Henne) over the last few years. The game that (tight end) Travis (Kelce) wasn’t in a couple years ago, other guys stepped up.
“That’s how great football teams work is you got to have depth everywhere and you got to have guys that will step up whenever their number is called.”
The Chiefs host the Cleveland Browns at noon Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium.