The Kansas City Chiefs returned to the field on Thursday morning for another day of training camp up in St. Joseph.
As far as the injury report goes, there was some good news on Thursday as wide receiver Tyreek Hill and safety Juan Thornhill each returned to practice after missing time earlier this week.
Among those who didn't participate were linebacker Willie Gay Jr. (concussion protocol), defensive end Alex Okafor (hamstring), cornerback DeAndre Baker (rest), tight end Evan Baylis (ankle), wide receiver Chad Williams (groin strain), offensive tackle Mike Remmers (back spasms), defensive end Malik Herring (knee) and offensive lineman Kyle Long (leg). Additionally, wide receiver Antonio Callaway left practice early with a knee injury.
Here are five observations from Thursday's practice.
1. Tyreek Hill was back out there making plays.
Hill left practice early on Tuesday and didn't participate on Wednesday due to knee tendinitis, but he was back out there on Thursday and looked like his usual self. He didn't waste any time getting involved, either, as Hill hauled in a touchdown reception on the second play of team red zone drills.
The All-Pro receiver was active throughout the remainder of the practice and impressed with numerous big plays.
2. The fans in attendance were treated to some "Mahomes Magic" on Thursday.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes often makes the extraordinary look easy – from his left-handed pass against Denver in 2018 to his ridiculous touchdown to Mecole Hardman vs. New Orleans last season – and we saw another example of that on Thursday.
During a red zone period of team drills, Mahomes rolled to his left to evade pressure before stopping on a dime, contorting his body and firing a dart to wide receiver Demarcus Robinson in the end zone. It was the kind of play that simply no other quarterback can make, and his receivers know it.
"It's just about staying alive. We know what he can do. We went over [that play] last night, and he can make [those plays] both in and outside the pocket," Robinson said. "We just try to stay alive and be that guy making the play."
3. Chris Jones deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage in team drills.
Much has been made about Jones' new role as an edge rusher heading into the upcoming season – and for good reason - but it's important to remember that he'll still line up quite a bit as an interior defensive lineman this year, and he demonstrated the value of that versatility during Thursday's practice.
Lining up as an inside lineman during a team drill in the red zone, Jones shed a block and got his hands up just as Mahomes unloaded a pass, deflecting the ball at the line of scrimmage and thwarting the play.
It was a great example of just how disruptive Jones can be. In fact, the two-time Pro Bowler has defended 20 passes since 2017, which are the fifth-most among all defensive linemen in that span.
4. Mecole Hardman continued his impressive camp.
Hardman has an opportunity to earn a larger role on offense this season as he enters his third campaign as a professional, and at least so far, the former second-round pick has been impressive. He's made at least one big play seemingly every day of practice, and Thursday was no different.
During a team period, Hardman used his speed to get on top of the coverage and haul in a deep touchdown to the roar of the crowd. Mahomes and Hardman later connected for another deep touchdown during 7-on-7 drills as well.
This is a big camp for Hardman in terms of his development, and he's certainly playing like it.
5. Trey Smith had another strong practice.
Kansas City's sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Smith's performance in practice continues to suggest that the Chiefs may have gotten one of the steals of the entire class. Whether it be during team periods or in 1-on-1 drills against defensive linemen, Smith has held his own throughout the first week of camp and the first three days of padded practices.
The challenge now will be maintaining that level of play throughout the next several weeks of padded practices and during the preseason, but Smith looks the part so far.
The Chiefs return to the field for another day of practice on Friday at 9:15 a.m. CT.