KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs on Monday returned to the field for the first regular-season practice, albeit a short session lasting a little more than an hour.
“It’s great to have our team together here and have an opportunity the last couple of days to work with them,” coach Andy Reid said. “We know we have a big challenge ahead with Tennessee and we look forward to that preparation starting on Wednesday.”
The Chiefs are off Tuesday before returning full-go on Wednesday with a view to Sunday’s season opener against the Titans at Arrowhead Stadium.
But the attention Monday fell on the Chiefs securing quarterback Alex Smith on Sunday evening to a reported four-year, $68 million extension with $48 million guaranteed.
Smith said he expressed a desire to his agent, Tom Condon, of having the deal in place before the start of the regular season.
The 30-year-old quarterback was all smiles addressing the media, and even happier the extension was accomplished.
“I didn’t want to go into the regular season with that,” Smith said. “As much as you don’t think about those types of things – subconsciously you can’t help it – they sit in the back of your head and you’re thinking, ‘Oh, I’m playing for a contract,’ and this and that. Sometimes it can just be an added distraction. I certainly was hoping and I’m really happy that it did get done.”
Reid reinforced the team’s commitment to Smith, whom he called a “good leader in the locker room.”
Reid adds Smith’s new contract had the support in the locker room.
“All the players were fired up for him,” Reid said. “Sometimes you don’t see that on teams. Guy does a big deal, and then you have jealousies here and there, but that’s not the way this crew was. We’re excited for him and now he gets to go out and just play football again, and not worry about all that.”
General manager John Dorsey echoed Reid.
“With securing this type of player on your roster,” Dorsey said, “it gives you stability. It’s time to move on, it’s time to focus on the game of football and get ready for the Tennessee Titans and that’s all you can ask for.”
Meanwhile, conventional wisdom points to the Chiefs focusing on fourth-year outside linebacker Justin Houston, who enters the final year of his rookie contract.
Houston, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, showed his displeasure of not having an extension by missing organized team activities and mandatory minicamp.
The 25-year-old Houston reported for training camp, and then watched as the Chiefs extended running back Jamaal Charles and Smith.
Whether the Chiefs and Houston’s agent, Joel Segal, will have something done in the near future remains to be seen.
“It’s one step at a time,” Dorsey said. “As we’ve always said as this process goes along, we’ve had discussions with his representatives, and we will continue to have discussions with his representatives.”
The Chiefs placed second-year quarterback Tyler Bray on injured reserve as part of Saturday’s transactions to get to the initial 53-man roster.
Bray suffered ankle and knee injuries in the preseason finale, and Reid revealed the extent of the ankle injury.
“We’ve got to get him back healthy,” Reid said. “He’s got a high ankle sprain there so we’ve got to get him back off of that.”
Bray’s injuries solved what would’ve been a quarterback dilemma between keeping three or four quarterbacks among Bray, Smith, Chase Daniel and rookie Aaron Murray.
“It’s great to be able to keep all of them,” Reid said. “They all did a good job this camp so we’re fortunate.”
Center Eric Kush (shoulder) and wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (concussion) did not practice Monday.
Kush and Jenkins, however, could be available Sunday.
“I think they’ll both be ready for Tennessee,” Reid said.
Linebacker Joe Mays (wrist) was the other player to not practice. Mays recently underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his right wrist.