Chiefs LB Justin Houston not present for first day of OTAs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs began the first set of organized team activities (OTAs) Tuesday without nine players.

And at least one name shouldn’t surprise when considering the voluntary nature of the workouts.

Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) celebrates a sacking of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers with Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe (92) looking on during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) celebrates a sacking of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers with Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe (92) looking on during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

All-Pro outside linebacker Justin Houston, who hasn’t signed his non-exclusive franchise tender, was not present as expected.

Houston seeks a long-term contract after playing the 2014 season in the final year of his rookie deal, but the Chiefs and Houston’s representative have been unable to come to an agreement.

Houston, who skipped OTAs last year, and outside linebacker Tamba Hali have stayed in touch during the offseason.

“He’s working, he’s working his tail off,” Hali said. “Like any player he wants to be here, but we know our league is a business. You have to allow that business to work itself out. He wants to be here.”

The missed OTAs last year didn’t adversely affect Houston on the field.

The fifth-year pro out of Georgia went on to set a team-record 22 sacks, which led the league, and earned a third straight Pro Bowl selection.

Meanwhile, the other players not present for the first day of OTAs are rookie cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson, quarterback Tyler Bray (knee), strong safety Eric Berry (illness), free safety Husain Abdullah, strong safety Daniel Sorensen, defensive end Allen Bailey and tight end Demetrius Harris.

Peters, the Chiefs’ first round pick out of Washington, and Nelson, the Chiefs’ third-round pick out of Oregon State, fall under the NCAA quarter system.

Both players graduate June 13 and are expected back for the three-day mandatory minicamp on June 16-18.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Harris had foot surgery in early May on the same foot previously operated on in November 2014.

“The natural grafting that normally takes place when you put a screw in there didn’t take place,” Reid said. “They went in, they grafted it, they re-present a screw in the bones there and we’ll see how he does.”

Reid said Sorensen was at the hospital with his wife, who was giving birth to their child, while Bailey’s and Abdullah’s traveling was delayed due to the storms in Texas.

NOTES: Outside linebacker Tamba Hali revealed he had his knee scoped during the offseason … “Some cartilage was floating in there, making it swell up,” Hali said. “Doctor cleaned it out and I feel good” … Running back Cyrus Gray, who returns from an ACL injury, and offensive lineman Jarrod Pughsley, who is dealing with a hamstring strain, did not practice Tuesday.

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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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