Four players who missed most or all of the 2011 football season make their daily trek to a side field when the Chiefs begin OTA practices.
Three of these players you’ve heard plenty about this offseason. The fourth, not as much.
Strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark usually puts the foursome through agility drills. Sometimes, they’ll sprint up the hill behind the Chiefs Training Facility that former All-Pro RB Priest Holmes used to frequent.
When Holmes ran the hill, it was covered with uneven terrain, rocks and high weeds. It’s now a perfectly manicured slope of dark green grass.
Whether it’s catching passes, running ladders or fighting up Holmes’ renovated hill, these players are always moving.
Obviously, the situation isn’t ideal. Each player would rather be practicing with teammates, but their morale is surprisingly high. Random howls accompany their smiles and sweat-drenched shirts in the distance.
But when you get closer and actually talk to this group, it doesn’t take long to detect the frustration.
Pro Bowl running back
"When I touch that field again, you're going to feel my pain," Charles said during a media session last month. "You're going to go through what I went through. It's going to be that way for me the rest of my career."
Charles’ words were music to the ears of Chiefs fans who know just how important his recovery is to the success of the team’s offense.
Injured Pro Bowl safety
Kansas City’s trio of left ACL injuries command most of the headlines when it comes to Chiefs players returning from injury, but
It shouldn’t be.
Siler is just as determined to get back on the field as Berry, Charles and Moeaki. He’s potentially a very important piece of this roster as well.
When the linebacker speaks, the seriousness in his voice is unmistakable. He’s going through OTA rehab with a positive attitude, but there’s less of a glass half-full approach when it comes to talking about his recovery.
Siler wants back on the field and he wants to return right now.
“It’s been frustrating,” Siler said following the Chiefs seventh OTA practice earlier this week. “My momma brought it to my attention that I haven’t been out of football this long since I was seven years old, and that kind of puts everything in perspective. Football is what I do.”
Siler is quick to the point.
Maybe it’s because he’s yet to play a snap for the Chiefs. A free agent signee from San Diego last season, Siler was Kansas City’s first season-ending injury casualty when his Achilles blew during a night practice at Arrowhead Stadium in late August.
“That doesn’t bother me any,” Siler said when asked if he feels like a forgotten player next to Berry, Charles and Moeaki. “There’s not much out there to be talked about. It’s my job to go out there and do what I do, and I can’t do that right now, so I shouldn’t be talked about. I plan on getting back out there and showing what I can do.”
Siler feels good. Really, he looks good too. Each day his quickness and change of direction appear to be improving.
But deep down Siler also knows he’s not yet ready to return. He’s close, but he’s not all the way there just yet.
“I’m just going to keep working with the trainers and follow what they have me doing,” Siler said. “I want to get back out there immediately, of course, but they have a plan for me and I’m just going to follow that.”
Other than a brief preseason appearance last August, and his four years playing for an AFC West rival, fans don’t know much about Siler.
Prior to suffering injury, he was making a push to unseat Demorrio Williams as the team’s top reserve behind starting inside linebackers
Siler was also one of San Diego’s top special teams performers, adding value to his push for playing time.
Despite not playing a single snap last season, the Chiefs thought enough of Siler to re-sign him for another year and inked him to a one-year extension in January. Talking with Siler gives you the idea that a chip is building on his shoulder. Those aren’t his words, just his unspoken body language.
When it comes to talking, Siler simply says he wants to show a fan base and his teammates what he’s capable of doing. He’s hopeful that proving time will come at training camp.
“I feel great,” Siler said. “I feel great right now. I’m ready to get back out there.”
Siler is often the forgotten member of Kansas City’s foursome. He shouldn’t be.