ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Chiefs inside linebacker Josh Mauga started Monday’s practice on the field in full pads.
But a groin injury forced the fifth-year pro to leave the field before team-drills.
While Mauga left on his own power, he had a noticeable limp before getting in the cart on the passenger side to be taken up the hill to the training facility.
He later returned without pads, slowly limping to the medical team and worked on the sideline with trainers alongside the other injured players: Defensive end Mike DeVito (hand), defensive end Kona Schwenke (shoulder) and cornerback Damond Smith (abductor strain).
The 27-year-old Mauga has impressed since the Chiefs signed him to a free-agent contract a day before training camp. He quickly became involved with the defense, even seeing time with the first-team defense at left inside linebacker over second-year pro Nico Johnson to give Joe Mays a breather.
Injuries have plagued Mauga the last two seasons while with the New York Jets. He landed on injured reserve in 2013 with a back injury, and also was placed on injured reserve in 2012 with a torn pectoral.
Mauga recorded four tackles (two solo) in the preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Meanwhile, kicker Ryan Succop (groin) missed a third straight day of practice. Succop wasn’t present on the field when practice starter, but later joined the team on the field as practice wound down.
The Chiefs excused tight end Richard Gordon from practice for personal reasons.
Defensive tackle Kyle Love returned to practice Monday after missing a week of work with an ankle injury.
Day 14 practice observations
• The Chiefs entertained the crowd during the first special teams portion of practice. Running backs Joe McKnight and De’Anthony Thomas lined up deep for the kickoff, but McKnight fielded the ball. He ran to the right of the field behind blockers, and then stopped on a dime, pivoting to this left with the ball in his right hand before throwing it across the field to Thomas. The Chiefs did this at least three times with McKnight throwing two passes and Cyrus Gray the other. Thomas was on the receiving of two pass, while Knile Davis took the last play.
• Third-year pro Ricky Henry continues to get repetitions with the first-team offensive line at either left guard behind starter Jeff Allen or right guard after starter Zach Fulton. Henry on Monday came in at left guard to relieve Allen during 11-on-11 drills.
• The battle among offensive linemen backups is heating up with three days of training camp remaining. Rookie Laurent Duvernay-Tardif continues to run at left guard with the second-team offensive. Jeff Linkenbach, whom the Chiefs signed as a free agent in March, is now running with the third-team unit.
• The Chiefs defense showed the package of speedy outside linebackers Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Josh Martin and rookie Dee Ford on the field at the same time for the second straight day of practice. Defensive tackle Dontari Poe is the lone down lineman in this package.
• Chiefs coach Andy Reid mentioned Sunday a rotation among the starting cornerbacks, and the team implemented it throughout Monday’s practice during 11-on-11 drills. Cornerbacks Marcus Cooper, Ron Parker and Sean Smith each saw time with the first-team defense. Parker typically shifted to the left cornerback spot whenever Smith entered at the right cornerback position.
• Rookie kicker Cairo Santos has been taking kicks with Ryan Succop (groin) not practicing. Santos was on the far field kicking field goals from various distances, but showed the team’s videographer an occupational hazard of being on the scissor left behind the goal posts. Santos, who has a strong leg, boomed at least two kicks from within 30-35 yards and hit the top of the lift twice. One of the kicks caused the videographer to duck.
• Safety Jonathon Amaya, whom the Chiefs signed Sunday evening, is wearing No. 27. Amaya becomes to third player to wear the jersey in training camp. The other two players to wear the number are cornerback David Van Dyke, who was waived, and safety Steve Gregory, who retired Saturday. Amaya replaced Gregory on the roster.
• Third-year pro Jaye Howard continues to run with the first-team defense in Mike DeVito’s place. Howard, who started the preseason opener, recorded four tackles (three solo) and a sack against the Cincinnati Bengals.
• The Chiefs on Sunday evening released the second depth chart of the preseason ahead of the next game against the Carolina Panthers. There are no big changes to the first depth chart, but wide receiver Weston Dressler is now listed last after Mark Harrison at the flanker or Z position.