The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up training camp on Thursday morning, completing a stretch of 17 full-team practices at Missouri Western State University in preparation for the upcoming season.
"It was great to finish up here. We appreciate everything that Missouri Western State University did for us," said Head Coach Andy Reid. "I challenged the guys [during this camp], and I think that's important. You bond [as a team] when you have to do something tough, and they answered the bell every day. I appreciate the effort."
This year's camp included 10 padded practices – marking the first time that the Chiefs took the field in pads since last season ended – but it also laid the foundation for what the six-time defending AFC West champions will seek to achieve in 2022.
"I think we took a giant step as far as [teaching] how we do things," said quarterback Patrick Mahomes. "We have the talent and the guys who can go out there and make the plays, but Coach Reid runs a tough training camp. It's what we're known for, and I think it makes us better. The guys understood that as we went on, and they came out with the mindset that they were going to compete every single day."
Camp will now essentially continue with closed practices at the Chiefs' team facility in Kansas City until regular-season roster cuts are due on August 30. In the meantime, the Chiefs will continue the preseason on Saturday afternoon with a matchup against the Washington Commanders at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
"We'll go [something like] the first half with the [first team]. It might be shorter than that – I'll just see how things go," Reid said. "[Quarterback] Chad Henne won't play in this game, just like last year. We'll sit him and give the two young guys some extra time."
In terms of injuries, the players who didn't participate in Thursday's practice were wide receiver Mecole Hardman (groin), defensive lineman Chris Jones (back), tight end Blake Bell (hip) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee). Additionally, offensive tackle Lucas Niang (knee) remains on the "PUP" list and did not participate.
Thursday was about more than just practice, too. It was also Military Appreciation Day presented by GEHA, which invited more than 100 members of our military from over 15 area bases to enjoy practice from the VIP tent.
"It's great to bring them out here and to celebrate them," Reid said. "They give us the opportunity to do [what we do]…I've seen it firsthand. I had a chance to go to Afghanistan a few years back, and the work and dedication that they put in [is amazing]."
The event also included an Army enlistment ceremony for more than a dozen young soldiers that took place during practice, and once the session concluded, every service member in attendance was welcomed onto the field to meet the players.
"Until the last one leaves, you sign [autographs]," said Reid, who remained on the field meeting service members for more than 20 minutes following practice. "If they want it, we give it to them."
The Chiefs will next take the field on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT to take on Washington.