KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs spent voluntary offseason training activities without more than one-third of its starting defense on the field but that picture changed with the opening of this week’s mandatory three-day minicamp.
“Just being away from the game a little bit and just focusing more on training smarter,” safety Eric Berry said in explaining his absence during the 10 OTA practice the past three weeks.
Berry along with linebacker Justin Houston and cornerback Marcus Peters skipped the voluntary portion of the minicamp. Linebacker Dee Ford attended the first four practices but then left OTAs.
“A lot of times you try to go too hard sometimes,” Berry explained. “I’m not saying that’s the case here, but with certain things I just wanted to get away from the game or reflect on I needed to work on and be around my family.”
Houston agreed with Berry, saying he favors his own workout regimen on his own or with a small group closer to home.
“I’m a one-on-one guy,” Houston said. “Even when I’m back home I train, the group I train with, if it’s a group, is no more than three people. If I’m messing up, I’m doing something wrong, I want to be corrected. I want to be perfect in everything I do.”
Peters said he spent his preparation for the mandatory minicamp working out at Empire Gym in San Francisco and at his high school in Oakland. He values the time he spends closer to his family.
“So anytime I get to go home and be around my family, I go do it,” Peters said. “I take the time out. That’s my vacation. Once we’re here for work, I’m here for work. My family understands that. So all the time that I get with my family, I go spend it and have fun.”
All the players indicated they informed the club they did not intend to participate in the voluntary workouts.
“You want to talk to everybody,” Peters said. “That’s the main thing, you’ve got to let people know what’s going on.”
Quarterback Alex Smith appeared happy having his defensive teammates back at work. He joked about reintroducing himself to the trio.
“I don’t know if you’ve forgotten us here, been a little while,” Smith joked. “All three of those guys, just reintroduced myself.”
Houston appeared to the same thing as the teams lined up for their first 11-on-11 drill Tuesday. The veteran linebacker wandered into the offensive huddle to exchange hugs and handshakes with teammates on the other side of the ball.
“I feel good, good to see everybody,” Houston said.
The 10 OTA practices showcased competitive fire, particularly from players fighting for spots on the roster. But the attitude on the field appear on the rise with the return of Berry, Peters and Houston.
“We’re on the same team, but it’s like having a house full of brothers,” Berry said. “You’re all going to fight inside the house, you’re all going to wrestle, you’re all going to argue, you’re all going to talk smack.”
Houston says the chippiness on the field comes adds flavor to practice.
“That’s having fun,” Houston said. “We’re enjoying ourselves. That’s part of the game.”
Peters pointed toward the high expectations the club holds for the 2017 season fueling the competitive attitude on the field.
“We got a mentality, man, we’re trying to win a Super Bowl,” Peters said. “So it’s going to be high.”