The long-anticipated return of football took another step forward Monday afternoon as the Kansas City Chiefs held their first practice of training camp in front of dozens of local media.
The first practice that's open to the public will take place Thursday afternoon (click here for more information and the training camp schedule).
On Sunday afternoon, the rookies, quarterbacks, and a few select veterans—38 players in total—reported to the campus of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri for camp.
For the guys who were out in the field on Monday, they were still in shorts and there was no contact allowed—just as was the case during OTAs and minicamp, but it's still a step in the right direction as football season is on the horizon.
Here's what you need to know about Monday's practice:
1. Spencer Ware, Mitch Morse, and a few other veterans were back on the field
There's only so much that can be taken from these practices, but one thing that is important to take away is that a handful of veterans were back on the field after ending last year on Injured Reserve.
Three of those players who have considerable experience—running back Spencer Ware, center Mitch Morse, and outside linebacker Dee Ford—are among them.
Here's what Chiefs' Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance Rick Burkholder told the media after practice regarding those three players and others who are working back from injury:
"This camp for us is a little bit of rehab, so these guys are getting back before we get the pads on," Burkholder explained. "So, to go through some of the guys that are coming off injuries: [cornerback Ashton] Lampkin, who tore his ACL last year, isn't quite ready yet and we'll just take him day-by-day. [Linebacker] Dee Ford is here and he's doing great - we anticipate that he's going to be OK as we get into pads."
"[Center] Mitch Morse is healed up and has been cleared, he did everything today. [Wide receiver] De'Anthony [Thomas], who is coming back from a fractured leg, did a lot today - we'll take him day-by-day and lead him back into contact as the camp goes on. Right now, we're just going to get him ready for contact but he's not going to do it.
"It's the same thing with [running back] Spencer Ware and his knee. He's doing phenomenal, but we'll bring him back slowly. [Running back] Damien Williams, who we signed and was coming off surgery, is doing great. He did everything today."
2. Couple of young cornerbacks made some nice plays in red zone work
If you're looking for some plays that stood out on the defensive side of the ball, there were a couple of young cornerbacks who made nice plays on the ball.
Rookie sixth-round draft pick Tremon Smith had a nice pass breakup on the outside on a ball that was intended for receiver Jordan Smallwood, who also had a good day as those two went back and forth for much of the 7-on-7 period.
A bit later in practice, undrafted rookie free agent D'Montre Wade had a fantastic defensive pass breakup during a red zone period on a back-shoulder ball intended for receiver Gehrig Dieter from quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Wade showed some nice athleticism to maneuver his body around the receiver on a tough play for a defensive back. He was all over Dieter and didn't touch him. It looked like it's supposed to look when it's done right.
3. The best pass of the day was…
While Mahomes had a lot of solid passes all over the field, the prettiest pass came on the last play of practice, and it was from former Raiders' quarterback Matt McGloin to Smallwood, who, again, had several nice plays on the day.
It was in a goal-to-go situation and the ball was placed perfectly over the outside shoulder of Smallwood on the fade, and it landed right in his hands over the outstretched arms of the defender.
Photos from Monday's Practice
4. Rookie Armani Watts left early with an ankle injury
The only player to get an update after practice on the injury front is rookie safety and fourth-round pick Armani Watts, who left early with an ankle injury.
Watts missed time during offseason workouts with a shoulder injury. We'll have more information as it becomes available.
5. Rookie Breeland Speaks preparing to be an all-around linebacker
One of the other takeaways from Monday's practice is that it's a fantastic opportunity for some of the younger players to get key reps and time with their positional coaches before the rest of the team reports Wednesday afternoon.
So, for Chiefs' rookie second-round pick Breeland Speaks, who is making the transition from a defensive lineman at Ole Miss to a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Chiefs, the reps are key.
Coach Reid spoke about what he wants to see from Speaks during camp.
"When you are young, you might have one move that's your favorite move," Reid explained. "And in the NFL, they take that away from you. How are you going to counter that? Are you going to work on those things that help counter that move? And add to the repertoire you can throw at the offensive lineman. He has the coverage part that he has to continue to work on, too. He's never had to do that.
"But one thing is he is a smart kid. Real smart. And he has a nice feel for the game. Things come relatively easy to him picking it up. And then that demand, that grind, how are you going to handle that throughout this whole camp? That will be the challenge there."
Speaks told the media that he spent part of his offseason working on some defensive backs drills to get lighter on his feet and used to being out in space, which all outside linebackers have to do on occasion at this level.