Minicamp Notebook: Brandon Siler and Abram Elam step forward

Posted Jun 12, 2012

Siler hits the field after nine-month absence, Elam (pictured) makes quick impact in secondary and other notes from the opening practice of minicamp

A single vanilla cupcake sat on the stool in front of Brandon Siler’s locker. Pink frosting swirled high to perfection with a touch of shine, almost like glitter.

Sometimes it’s the small gifts that mean the most.

The cupcake was delivered while Siler was in the shower. After a brief period of confusion and investigation, Siler figured out the identity of his gift-giver.

It was fellow inside linebacker Jovan Belcher.

“That’s Belcher planting stuff to try and make me fat,” Siler laughed. “He’s trying to slow me down and make me fat since I’m always bragging about my six-pack.”

Tuesday was a big day for Siler and the perfect time for Belcher to joke around.

Siler put on a helmet and practiced for the first time since blowing out an Achilles last August. His participation on Tuesday was limited to individual drills, but it was a significant step in Siler’s push to compete for a place in the Chiefs linebacking corps.

“It was a lot of fun and it was football again,” Siler said. “All the (rehab) stuff that you do is meant to get you back playing football. When you get out there and put your helmet on – and I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had my helmet on – it feels really good.”

It’s been more than nine months since Siler last wore his helmet. He was injured on the final play of a night practice at Arrowhead Stadium during training camp last summer.

Without hesitation, Siler can recall the moment he knew his first season in Kansas City was over.

“It was the last play of practice, and I mean it was the absolute last play,” Siler recalled. “It was a goal line play on the one-yard line and I knew the running back was going to jump over the pile, so I went up to go meet him and my face hit the floor.

“I didn’t know what had happened, but it kind of felt like an ankle sprain. I just said in my head, ‘give it time, get some blood back in there and walk it off.’ I tried to do that and it didn’t happen. The trainer came in behind me and I could tell by the look in his eye.”

At that time, Siler was competing with Belcher for playing time. He was a shoe-in to be an impact player on special teams at the very minimum and also looked to be in the process of supplanting veteran Demorrio Williams as the team’s top reserve linebacker.

For the next few months Siler would come out to practices on a rolling, tricycle–like cart.

“I’ve wanted to light somebody up since I went down,” Siler said. “I would have told you the same thing if you asked me that a couple of months ago.”

There was no hitting at Tuesday’s non-padded minicamp practice, but Siler’s participation in individual drills is a significant step toward making a full return.

He’s the first of Kansas City’s foursome of season-ending injuries to return to the field in any capacity. Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki – all left ACL victims a year ago – will meet with doctors next Monday in order to be cleared for training camp.

Siler is on a slightly different schedule.

 “They have a plan for me and I’m just following it,” Siler said. “Of course I want to be out there every second doing everything, but they have a plan for me and I believe in them. They know what’s right for me.

“A lot of times I don’t know what I’ll be doing, but I show up with an open mind and I’m excited about whatever I’m doing on that particular day.”

Siler was all smiles on Tuesday. His limited return was a welcomed assignment.

Abe Elam Makes Push

Abram Elam wasted no time making his presence known at minicamp.

The veteran safety, who started 16 games for the Cowboys last season and signed with the Chiefs last week, ran with the first-team defense on Tuesday and picked off Matt Cassel on the first snap of 7-on-7 drills.

“I was just reading my responsibility,” Elam said of the interception. “I’m coached to read the guy and locate the ball, so I just went and made a play.”

The Chiefs signed Elam to provide a veteran presence on the team’s defensive back line.

With Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis both being held out of offseason practices, head coach/defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel had been rotating undrafted rookies and inexperienced veterans with the first-team defense at safety.

“He is a smart young man that has been in different systems and that’s one of his strong suits that he can pickup and call defenses,” Crennel said. “He has called the secondary in the past, so I think that will bode well for our situation because if the two guys we do have aren’t back, you can see out there that the young guys make mistakes.”

Elam is the newest member of the Chiefs secondary, but his veteran presence is already being felt.

“This is a good role for me to come in and learn the defense,” Elam said. “The coaches are doing a good job getting me up to speed and the players are as well, so they’re making that transition easier for me.”

Eric Berry Excused, Devon Wylie Sidelined

The Chiefs had 88 of 90 players present for Tuesday’s opening practice of mandatory minicamp. Missing was safety Eric Berry and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Berry was excused by Crennel for personal/family commitments and Bowe remains unsigned as the Chiefs franchise player.

Rookie wide receiver Devon Wylie was held out of practice after injuring his hamstring at Friday’s OTA session. Also held out of action was offensive lineman Rob Bruggeman (finger), running back Jamaal Charles (knee), safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder/pectoral), tight end Tony Moeaki (knee) and tight end Martin Rucker (knee).

On Brian Banks…

Linebacker Brian Banks was in town for a private workout on Tuesday, but Crennel didn’t have an update following practice. Banks was scheduled to workout for the Chiefs later in the afternoon and was not present at the team’s minicamp practice.

The former blue chip high school recruit was exonerated of rape charges last month after spending five years in prison and another five years wearing an ankle monitor. His story has captured national attention.

Banks is scheduled to tryout for the Seahawks on Wednesday.

Play of the Day

The linebackers worked on a difficult assignment, matching up one-on-one with running backs and tight ends in coverage. Reserve linebacker Cory Greenwood made the most impressive stop of the period, running stride for stride with his man out of the backfield and jumping the route for an interception.

Greenwood has played in 32 consecutive games with the Chiefs since arriving as a rookie free agent out of Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec) in May of 2010. He led Kansas City with 15 special teams tackles last season.

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