Chiefs begin offseason workout program without LB Justin Houston

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April 20, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Screen grab of Chiefs coach Andy Reid addressing the media on the first day of the offseason workout program. Credit: KCChiefs.com

April 20, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Screen grab of Chiefs coach Andy Reid addressing the media on the first day of the offseason workout program. Credit: KCChiefs.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs on Monday kicked off the first day of the voluntary offseason workout program minus All-Pro outside linebacker Justin Houston.

Houston’s absence doesn’t come as a surprise, as ChiefsDigest.com previously reported the team’s non-exclusive franchise player wasn’t expected to be present.

Coach Andy Reid didn’t appear concerned and said he understands how the business side of football works.

“I’ve been in this long enough to understand how it all works out when you’re dealing with negotiations, particularly with a good player,” Reid said. “They will come to a number that’s good for both sides. It will all work out and he will be here for a long period of time.”

Houston, who hasn’t signed his tender, missed the voluntary portion of offseason workouts in 2014 and held out of the mandatory minicamp. The absences didn’t hurt as he went on to lead the league in sacks with 22.

That production of last season allows Reid to know Houston won’t eventually report out of shape.

“I know on the other side that Justin is going to work his tail off because that’s the way he’s wired,” Reid said. “He’s going to make sure he’s ready to go when the time comes.”

Strong safety Eric Berry, who is battling lymphoma, was also not present.

Reid said the Chiefs have stayed in touch with Berry, and Berry is “doing very well. Reid adds head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder has communicated with Berry’s doctor.

“He has a couple treatments left,” Reid said of Berry. “Those treatments kind of knock the dog out of you, but he’s fought through it and he’s working out like a wild man. I know it was tweeted out – there were pictures of him at the Tennessee spring game. You could see where he lost that red hair he had, but that will be back.”

The remaining players not present are quarterback Tyler Bray, who tore his ACL in January, offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and safety Daniel Sorensen.

Reid said Sorensen is graduating from BYU and Duvernay-Tardif is in the process of finishing his final year of residency to become a medical doctor.

Bray is rehabbing away from the team’s training facility.

NOTES: Reid said the Chiefs have not heard from the NFL about a potential suspension on cornerback Sean Smith, who pleaded guilty to DUI on March 9 and received two years probation … “That’s in their hands and we will be ready either way,” Reid said. “If he is suspended we will handle it from there and if he’s not then he will be in there playing” … Reid said quarterback Alex Smith, who missed the final regular-season game of 2014 with a lacerated spleen, is cleared to participate in the offseason workout program … “He’s fine,” Reid said of Smith.

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Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter:

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