Nuts and Bolts of Saturday's practice
- The Chiefs held their first practice that was open to the public on Saturday afternoon
- An hour before practice had even started, more than a thousand Chiefs fans were waiting in line to see their favorite players
- We saw the return of many faces on the defensive side of the ball in linebacker Derrick Johnson, defensive linemen Mike DeVito and Mike Catapano, plus defensive backs Eric Berry and Sanders Commings
- Head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles, linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali and receiver Jeremy Maclin all spoke with the media after practice
- Coach Reid said after practice that every player passed the conditioning test on Saturday morning
- While the players weren't in pads, they gave the crowd plenty to get excited about as the first, second and third teams went through several reps in 11-on-11 drills
The Kansas City Chiefs took to the field as a full team for their first 2015 Chiefs Training Camp practice open to the public at Missouri Western State University.
Top Plays from Saturday's practice
The play that most people will be talking about tomorrow was the second play from scrimmage from the first-team offense. Quarterback Alex Smith went deep to his newest target, receiver Jeremy Maclin on a go route up the right sideline. The pass traveled more than 40 yards in the air and landed perfectly in Maclin's hands as he got over the top of the defense.
The Chiefs first-round pick this year, cornerback Marcus Peters, had a nice pass breakup on what could have been a pick-six interception on a pass from quarterback Aaron Murray.
There wasn't a shortage of nice receptions from tight end Travis Kelce, who did nothing to dissuade the momentum he has been building as one of the up-and-coming playmakers in the NFL. Kelce made a nice toe-tapping catch along the sideline on a pass from Chase Daniel that caused him to fully extend.
The only interception of the day came from safety Ron Parker, who hopped a route along the sideline and had nothing but daylight in front of him.
The fact that veteran safety Eric Berry was simply out on the field with his teammates for a full practice just eight months removed from being diagnosed with cancer is reason enough to be the top play of the day.
Clips from Practice
Here are a video clips of what went on at practice on Saturday:
Player Spotlight – Linebacker Justin Houston
When the word "family" gets thrown around by the players, coaches and people within the Chiefs organization to describe the atmosphere around this team, some may just brush it off as lip service.
But as is the case with the Chiefs, especially recently, tangible examples become very easy to find.
For linebacker Justin Houston, who spent his much-needed days off after games last year traveling to Georgia to be with his teammate, Eric Berry, who was going through cancer treatments, the word "family" is the only one that can exemplify that kind of love and respect for a fellow man.
So for Houston to step on the field with Berry on Saturday for the first time since November—when Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma—there were plenty of emotions.
"It's a great feeling," Houston explained. "It gives me chills. Not only to see Eric [Berry] back, but also to have Mike DeVito and Derrick Johnson back.
"It's a great feeling to have everybody back on the field."
Houston explained how Berry always seemed like the same guy when he was visiting with him in Georgia last season.
"To me, he never took any time off," Houston explained. "Even when he was going through chemo, he was constantly working out. Even when I saw him, he was always working out. That guy, he's built different, he's strong from the bottom up.
"A guy that is going through chemo and still not stop working out and is constantly working, you've got to be real strong-minded to do something like that."
For Houston, who just recently signed a long-term agreement with the Chiefs after posting the best single-season performance for a pass rusher in franchise history, he was just excited to get back to work with his teammates.
"Just being around these guys, they love to work," Houston said. "It rubs off on you. Like Tamba [Hali], I've never seen anybody work as hard as him. You've got Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson, all these guys that love to work. It just rubs off on you, it's just a constant, team effort."
Hali, who is just seven sacks shy of passing former Chiefs great Neil Smith for second on the franchise's all-time list, spoke about his reaction to Houston getting his new contract.
"I was happy for him," Hali said. "I called him. We talked and I told him you're going to get a lot of calls. Instantly, there's a bullseye on your head now. Everyone is going to scrutinize everything you do. 22 sacks, people think that's easy to do. Three people have gotten that far in the last 20 years, so if he even gets 12 or 14 sacks, people are going to scrutinize it, but that's hard to do.
"But that's our leader. That's our dog and we're going to ride with him."
Hali said people shouldn't expect there to be any issues with any added pressure Houston might now be facing.
"He embraces that," Hali said of Houston. "Some guys don't like the pressure, but he embraces that. He knows what he can accomplish. It's not really about his numbers. The focus is really what we can do as a team. [As long as] everyone does their job—that will allow us to win games."
After putting up a historic season and signing a monster contract, Houston is only thinking about what's next.
"I put that behind me and I look forward to this year," Houston said. "I'll use that to help keep me motivated and just stay focused on the goal at hand, and that's to win every game."