Chiefs preparing without Houston during mandatory minicamp
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The videos that Justin Houston has been posting on social media of his workouts this offseason, and the absurd amount of weights he's been lifting, should help set Chiefs coach Andy Reid at ease.
Especially considering Reid probably won't see Houston until at least training camp.
The All-Pro linebacker has skipped the entirety of Kansas City's offseason program after getting the franchise tag, a power play to spur along negotiations on a long-term deal.
But up until now, all of those workouts have been strictly voluntary, including the full-squad practices.
This week is different: The Chiefs have their three-day, mandatory minicamp beginning Tuesday.
''I don't really get caught up in that stuff,'' Reid said last week, when asked whether Houston would be in camp this week. ''I don't know that. He probably won't be. We just move on.''
The Chiefs and Houston spoke at length last offseason on a long-term deal, but the sides were never close. Then, Houston set a franchise record with 22 sacks to finish off his rookie contract, staking a claim as one of the league's best pass rushers and sending his value soaring.
The franchise tag means he'll be paid handsomely this season regardless of what happens. But he'd rather have the security of a lengthy contract than a $13.1 million, one-year deal.
While nobody seems to be expecting No. 50 on the practice field, the Chiefs do expect their rookie cornerbacks to arrive.
First-round pick Marcus Peters and third-round pick Steven Nelson had to miss most of the team's organized team activities because their schools, Washington and Oregon State, are on a different scheduling system and they were busy finishing classes.
Nelson could contend for a starting job in Week 1, particularly if Sean Smith is suspended for his drunken-driving arrest, and Nelson is the front-runner for the nickel back position.
''You hope they can get as many reps when they come back to the mandatory camp as they can,'' Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. ''There is nothing really they can do about it and nothing we can do about it, so you've just got to live with it.''
Well, there has been something they can do about it.
Throughout the past few weeks, defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas and his assistants have been sending off packages of plays and other material on a day-by-day and week-by-week basis.
In other words, they shouldn't be too far behind if they've been doing their homework.
''They were here earlier (for a rookie minicamp) and both of those guys learn real well,'' Thomas said last week, ''so they'll be OK.''
The Chiefs picked up a few nagging injuries during the optional workouts. Derrick Johnson spent some time out with knee inflammation, wide receiver Albert Wilson had trouble with a hamstring, and backup running back Charcandrick West has a stinger.
Reid has said that he'll be cautious with anybody dealing with ailments.
''I think we'll just continue to progress from where we're at right now. This whole thing is a minicamp, that's just a mandatory one (this week),'' he said. ''I would expect the guys to continue to grow in the offense and the defense, special teams. It will be good to get the two young guys, the corners, and they have a lot of work ahead of them.''
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