KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs opened mandatory minicamp Tuesday without All-Pro outside linebacker Justin Houston, as expected.
“A couple of days ago,” outside linebacker Tamba Hali said on the last time he spoke to Houston. “I asked if he was coming; he didn’t reply.”
Houston’s absence isn’t a surprise given the fifth-year pro hasn’t signed the one-year, $13.1 million nonexclusive franchise tender while he seeks a long-term contract.
The Chiefs can’t fine Houston for missing the three-day minicamp because he is not under contract. Houston also skipped the voluntary organized team activities.
The Chiefs and Houston’s representative have until 4 p.m. ET on July 15 to negotiate a multiyear contract or extension. After that date, Houston can only sign the one-year franchise tender for the 2015 season.
The absence of Houston from OTAs and minicamp is a repeat of the 2014 offseason, when Houston chose to stay away from both events as he prepared to enter the final year of his contract.
Houston eventually reported on time for training camp, and then went on to lead the NFL in sacks with 22, which also established a team single-season record, to earn a third straight Pro Bowl selection and All-Pro honors by The Associated Press.
And like last season, Houston is training to remain in top condition.
“Justin is doing well,” Hali said. “He’s working out, getting himself in shape, preparing to be here.”