Ailing Chiefs Moeaki, Avery back in practice

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) Tony Moeaki spent most of the Kansas City
Chiefs’ offseason workouts watching from the sideline with a baseball
cap on his head. Donnie Avery did the same.

They’re both happy to have a helmet on instead.

Moeaki
had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee after last season, keeping
the tight end from participating in the first round of practices under
new coach Andy Reid. Avery managed to get in only a couple workouts
before a high ankle sprain sidelined the wide receiver.

“Good,
it’s good to be back out here. It was a long offseason,” Moeaki said
after a workout Wednesday on the campus of Missouri Western. “The
training staff did a great job of getting me back and I’m just excited
to be out here.”

Moeaki is no stranger to the Chiefs’ training staff.

He
has a history of injury problems dating back to his college days at
Iowa, and that hasn’t changed with the Chiefs. He missed time his rookie
season with a head injury, and then missed the entire 2011 season with a
torn ACL. He was bothered by a shoulder injury last season, too.

He can’t afford to miss any time under a new regime.

Reid
and new general manager John Dorsey aggressively sought to upgrade the
tight end position during the offseason, luring away free agent Anthony
Fasano from the Miami Dolphins and then drafting Travis Kelce in the
third round to provide a downfield threat.

The Chiefs envision
using their tight ends much as the New England Patriots and Detroit
Lions have done the past few years — as bulldozers for Pro Bowl running
back Jamaal Charles, and as options in the passing game for new
quarterback Alex Smith.

“They like to use the tight ends, move us
around, so we just have to be prepared and ready to go every day,”
Moeaki said. “There’s some carry-over (in terminology), but football is
football.”

Moeaki has been a reliable receiver when healthy,
catching 80 passes for 1,009 yards and four touchdowns. But he has
played in only 29 games over three seasons — and now has competition.

“We
have a great tight end group,” Moeaki said. “Just have to keep working
hard, keep paying attention in the meetings. Every year, everyone is
fighting for a starting spot. I’m just coming out here; I’m not putting
expectations on myself. I’m just trying to do the best I can.”

Avery doesn’t have to worry about his place on the team.

The
Chiefs cut Steve Breaston during the offseason and signed Avery to
become the slot wide receiver and speedy deep threat that Breaston never
was. But his start in Reid’s system has been slowed by an ankle sprain
sustained more than two months ago.

“The first two days I’m a
little sore, but I feel good. Good to get back and get my feet wet
again,” Avery said. “I’m glad I’m here, getting good chemistry with the
quarterback and getting more reps than I would in training camp, so I’m
happy.”

Avery was drafted in the second round by the St. Louis
Rams, and had a couple of productive seasons before tearing his ACL and
missing the 2010 season. He played sparingly for the Titans a couple
years ago but started to show flashes of his speed last season in
Indianapolis.

He caught 60 passes for 781 yards and three touchdowns.

“Whatever my role is, I’m here to play it,” Avery said. “Coach came and got me for a reason.”

Moeaki
and Avery have been joined in practice this week by running back Shaun
Draughn, who was dealing with a sports hernia during the offseason
program. Because they were injured, they are eligible to report along
with the rookies before the rest of the squad arrives Thursday.

“I’m
fine. I had surgery in May, did rehab — a lot of rehab over the summer
— during OTAs and I’m good as new,” Draughn said. “I’m trying to get
my mind back right with the plays.”

Draughn knows the value of
training camp. He arrived last season trying to work his way into the
mix, made a splash in the eyes of former coach Romeo Crennel and wound
up playing in all 16 games. He had 233 yards rushing and two touchdowns,
and caught 24 passes for 158 yards.

“Every day you have to take advantage of,” he said, “and it’s the same thing this year.”

Notes:
Rookie Tyler Bray continued to take snaps ahead of Ricky Stanzi in the
race to be the No. 3 QB. … Rookie safety Sanders Commings had his left
arm in a sling after breaking his collarbone in practice Tuesday. …
The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Friday.