KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Alex Smith and Derrick Johnson said it felt like the first day of school.
Andy Reid is playing the role of the new teacher, and general manager John Dorsey took on the guise of the new principal. The Kansas City Chiefs even had someone truant for the start of class, though the reality is that the start of offseason workouts Monday was strictly voluntary – even if everyone but left tackle Branden Albert decided to show up.
It was the first time the Chiefs could gather as a team since Reid and Dorsey were hired in January, the two of them tasked with turning around a franchise that went 2-14 a year ago.
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“It’s good to get everybody back in the building, and start the offseason program,” said Reid, who spent the past 14 seasons coaching the Eagles.
“These are not mandatory workouts,” Reid said, “so it’s good to see the workouts we had, and the effort the guys put in, not just in the meeting room but the workout rooms.”
The Chiefs mostly spent the day in team meetings, where Reid laid out his philosophy and tried to set the tone for the organization, though several players were working out in the weight room and safeties Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry were spotted on the indoor practice field.
Smith, who arrived in an offseason trade with San Francisco, also got his hands on Reid’s playbook for the first time, and the new Chiefs quarterback – along with the rest of the players on the roster – will finally have a chance to dig into it in the coming days.
“It feels like the first day of school, but it was good. A good day,” Smith said. “We had a good turnout, guys were enthusiastic, coming into work, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Albert’s role as the lone absentee was somewhat surprising.
The big left tackle would have become a free agent this offseason had he not received the franchise designation from the Chiefs. And while he has stated publicly that he wants a long-term commitment, Albert decided to sign his contract worth $9.82 million late last month.
That doesn’t mean Albert will be with the Chiefs when next season rolls around.
Kansas City has reportedly been listening to trade offers the past few weeks, and Reid said that he was aware that Albert would not be attending Monday’s workouts. Asked if he expects Albert to attend any workouts, Reid said simply, “We’ll see.”
“You’ll find I don’t really get caught up in that. The guys that are here we’ll work with, and that gives the next man an opportunity to get better and get ready to play,” Reid said. “I don’t really want the focus to be on him, rather than the rest of the football team.”
The Chiefs made a series of bold moves in the offseason to shore up their roster, beginning with the acquisition of Smith and continuing with the signing of a bevy of free agents.
Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson are expected to shore up the defensive backfield, Mike DeVito was signed to plug up the interior of the defensive line, and tight end Anthony Fasano and wide receiver Donnie Avery have been signed to give Smith some weapons in the passing game.
All of them have said that Reid played a part in their decision to sign with Kansas City.
“I talked to a lot of guys who played for him, and they didn’t have anything negative to say, and that’s rare in this day and age,” said Robinson, a veteran cornerback who may be asked to play nickel back or safety with the Chiefs. “It’s nice to get here and get to work.”