KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs running back De’Anthony Thomas’ return to minicamp on Tuesday started off well, as he looked quick and displayed burst.
But in near 90 degree temperatures, Thomas eventually left the field late in practice with what the team said was an illness. Prior to departing, he was observed sitting in the shade with a towel over his head.
Thomas returned to the field Wednesday for Day Two in virtually identical temperature, and he knows acclimating to the Midwest summer will play a role in his conditioning.
“I just have to train with it and get better,” Thomas said after Wednesday’s practice. “Just got to keep working hard and keep some fluids in my body.”
Thomas couldn’t attend the voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) due to Oregon’s quarter system after he was present for the rookie minicamp in late May.
He continued to train in the Pacific Northwest and stayed in touch with running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, but admitted dealing with the academic quarter system and time away from the team wasn’t easy.
“It was tough,” Thomas said. “But I’m excited to be here now, and now I just have to come and compete.”
The Chiefs continue to move the fourth-round draft pick around in the same manner from rookie minicamp and Day One of mandatory minicamp.
Much like he’s down in past workouts, Thomas participated in special team returner drills, lined up in the backfield and took repetitions as a slot wide receiver throughout team-related drills.
With Thomas in the mix, the Chiefs are primed to have him affect at least three battle fronts during training camp at those positions.
His long-term impact is thought to more on special teams and as a slot receiver to fill the roles vacated by Dexter McCluster, who signed a free-agent with the Tennessee Titans in March. However, Thomas worked with the running backs during individual position warm-up drills. McCluster for the most part often worked out with the wide receivers during that portion of warm-ups.
In the meantime, Thomas is happy to be back around his teammates.
“I just feel great to be out here,” he said. “I feel like it’s a great group of guys and great coaching. I’m excited just to be here and just execute and get to know this play book.”
Day Two injuries
Tight end Sean McGrath (knee), cornerback Phillip Gaines (ankle) and right tackle Donald Stephenson (calf) did not finish practice after suffering their respective injuries.
“We’ll have to see tomorrow how they do,” a team spokesman said after Wednesday’s practice.
Coach Andy Reid addresses the media following Thursday’s final day of minicamp, so expect updates then.
Tight end Travis Kelce (knee) and wide receiver Kyle Williams (knee) were on the field for a second straight day. They participated in the individual position drills, appearing to run without limitations, before going inside as part of their rehabilitation treatment.
Joining the duo was wide receiver Weston Dressler, who returned to individual position drills after missing the first day of minicamp with a hamstring injury.
Outside linebacker Justin Houston missed a second straight day of mandatory minicamp, making him subject to a $23,150 fine in accordance with Article 42, Section 1 (a) (ix), Exhibit A of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Houston wasn’t present Tuesday, meaning the team can fine him $11,575 for missing Day One. Should Houston miss Thursday without an excuse from the team, he is subject to a Day Three absence fine at $34,730.
Missing all three days without an excused absence could cost a total of $69,455.
• Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe made a full-extension leaping grab on a pass from quarterback Alex Smith during 11-on-11 drills. Bowe’s catch immediately drew a clearly audible “oohs” from his teammates on the sidelines.
• The Chiefs continue to shuffle the right side of the offensive line in one of the most fluid situations of the offseason. Rookie Zach Fulton saw time at right guard with the first-team offense during 11-on-11 drills for a second straight day. Obviously, that scenario is subject to change once the team reports to training camp. Rishaw Johnson also saw time at right guard on a rotating basis with Fulton.
• Another day and yet another attention-grabbing catch from tight end Demetrius Harris, who turned in a leaping catch from quarterback Tyler Bray. Free safety Sanders Commings was defending on the play.
• With Sean Smith absent with an illness, Marcus Cooper continued to fill in at right cornerback with the first team during 11-on-11. Ron Parker took Cooper’s spot at left cornerback, while Chris Owens defends the slot.
• Cornerback Ron Parker drew a flag from an official for pass interference on a play when he failed to turn his around to look for the football. He ran into wide receiver Donnie Avery during a pass from quarterback Alex Smith. Officials have been present during minicamp.
• Quarterback Tyler Bray had two memorable throws on Tuesday. The first went to tight end Demetrius Harris, and the other went to wide receiver Jerrell Jackson deep on the right sideline.
• Quarterback Chase Daniel threw a perfect deep pass during 9-on-7 drills when he found wide receiver Donnie Avery for a touchdown.
• Quarterback Aaron Murray continues to show confidence in his surgically repaired left knee. On one play during 11-on-11 drills and with the pocket collapsing, Murray tucked the ball and didn’t hesitate to take off down the right sideline.
• Quarterback Alex Smith found wide receiver Frankie Hammond deep during 11-on-11 drills for what would’ve been a touchdown in a real game. Hammond beat Marcus Cooper on the play.
• Free safety Sanders Commings intercepted an Alex Smith pass intended for Donnie Avery during 11-on-11 drills.
• Rookie outside linebacker Dee Ford ran with the first-team defense for a second straight day at Justin Houston’s spot.