By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
After missing OTAs, mandatory minicamp and the first five practices at Chiefs training camp, starting left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. was back on the field with his teammates at training camp in St. Joseph Tuesday.
He's on an acclimation plan, meaning he's not a full participant yet. Brown did install, individual drills and 9-on-7, but not full 11-on-11 team workouts.
After being away for so long, working with the Chiefs on long-term contract negotiations, Brown says it was important for him to come back during the start of fully padded practices this week.
"I know how important this five-day stretch is to coach Reid and everybody here in KC," Brown said. "It didn't feel right, sitting at home and missing out on this. This is something I want to be a part of. I was brought here to help win Super Bowls."
Brown signed his franchise tender Monday, which will pay him around $16.6 million this season. The Chiefs waived offensive lineman Chris Glaser as a result to make room on the active roster.
Brown didn’t practice while he and the Chiefs worked on long-term contract negotiations, which for now have ultimately failed.
The Chiefs' final offer to Brown was a six-year, $139 million deal that included a $30.25 million signing bonus and $95 million in the first five years of the contract. A lack of security with no guaranteed money after the first two years derailed any agreement, according to ESPN reports.
"It was difficult to be away from it for so long," Brown admitted, "but the understanding was that I had to do what I had to do."
Despite the apparent saga, Brown reiterates his faithfulness to Kansas City, holds no grudges and wants to finish his career as a Chief.
"I love blocking for Pat Mahomes and I love putting the Chiefs logo on my helmet man," Brown said. "I really enjoy being here. I know that time will tell and things will taken care of with time. I just look forward to getting out on the field this year."
"With the contract situation, there weren't enough guarantees, and I want to be here for the rest of my career in Kansas City. That's really important to me."
Kick and punt return options
With Byron Pringle now in Chicago, the Chiefs have tried a few new players at kick and punt return. Mecole Hardman is a veteran at that spot, owning both a kickoff and punt return for a touchdown in his Kansas City career.
Special teams coach David Toub says rookie running back Isiah Pacheco has caught his attention at kick return, and will start the preseason in that spot.
"He's promising," Toub said of the rookie running back out of Rutgers. "He's a big guy, 215 (pounds) plus, running a 4.37 (second 40-yard dash). That's kind of scary back there if we get that going."
As for punt return, Toub mentioned Trent McDuffie and Hardman as options, but he's also excited about rookie Skyy Moore.
"(Moore) has a really good sense for the ball reads and stuff like that," Toub said. "I'm excited about getting both (Moore and Pacheco) in there in the preseason and seeing what they can do."
Toub says he lost about six or seven regular special teams players in the offseason, like Ben Niemann for instance, who were reliable contributors in kickoff coverage and other aspects.
Toub says players like Noah Gray and Daurice Fountain are looking to fill some new roles, but Elijah Lee has done especially well in special teams.
"He's done outstanding," Toub said of Lee. "He's not a rookie. He's a veteran. He's got veteran experience on special teams. Counting on him. That's hands down."
Other injury news
Skyy Moore left practice early Tuesday due to a hip injury after making contact with Nazeeh Johnson during one-on-one drills. Moore has since indicated on social media that he is okay.
Tight end Jody Forston was held out for a second straight day Tuesday due to a quad sprain. Andy Reid said Monday that he'd expect Forston back within a few days.
Patrick Mahomes had a bit of extra tape on his lower left leg, but he operated just as normal Tuesday after being stepped on Monday.
Lucas Niang, Rashad Fenton and Prince Tega Wanogho remain on the physically unable to perform list.
Karlaftis has undoubtedly been one of the more exciting rookies this training camp.
The 30th overall pick out of Purdue this year, Karlaftis has worked with the first-team defense, anchoring the line along with veteran and fellow defensive end Frank Clark.
Clark has been seen working with Karlaftis numerous times after practice this camp, but Karlaftis says the entire D-line group has been helpful.
"From Frank and Chris (Jones) to Mike (Danna) and (Tershawn Wharton), everybody in the group is coming together as one," he said. "Frank helps me out after practice and Chris helps me out in his own way. Everyone helps me in their own way. We're trying to have the strongest group possible."
The Chiefs will also be joined this week by veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who was just signed by the team last week. Dunlap owns 96 career sacks through 12 seasons in Cincinnati and Seattle.
Dunlap will report Wednesday and is set to start practicing Thursday.
"We're pumped to have (Dunlap) here eventually," Karlaftis said. "Almost 100 sacks in his career. Definitely a lot to learn from him. I think he's going to add a lot of value, just from the teaching standpoint."
The rookie linebacker out of Wisconsin has mostly worked with second defense in camp, but he had himself a nice day Tuesday, plugging gaps, working with the first-team sone and levying a big hit on running back Ronald Jones.
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