ENJOY YOUR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!
As we head into the first big holiday weekend of the summer, be safe. As Herm would say, we don’t want to see any of you ending up on “da-da-da … da-da-da.”
The Chiefs got through their first four OTA sessions, wrapping up on Friday with a little levity as Todd Haley had the offensive and defensive line catch punts off the jugs machine. The side that caught the most punts got a few gassers taken off their total. The happy side was the offense.
Near as we could tell the team got through the workouts without any injuries, major or minor. That’s always a good sign at this time of the year. There were eight players who were there but did not take part in all of the practice work. The good thing is all of those players were doing rehab, so all are on the way back. Some rode stationary bikes, while others were running sprints and pushing a weighted sled under the direction of conditioning coaches Cedric Smith and Brent Salazar.
As always, there was attention on those who were not there, led by the duo of Brian Waters and Mike Vrabel (right), who have not taken part in any of the off-season work with the team. Neither has returned calls to the media to explain why they are absent. But both have apparently talked with Haley about their absences. “Nothing was a surprise and we are aware of what was going on,” Haley said of the absent players, which on Friday included RB Larry Johnson and OLB Tamba Hali.
But Haley did address the Vrabel situation a bit.
“I would say that Mike is excited to get here and I’m excited to see him in action and see where he is at,” said Haley. “We have been giving him the information and he has been working, calling and checking in. We will see when he gets here where we stand just like any of the guys who haven’t been here.”
Reportedly Vrabel played most of last season with a bum shoulder, not that the information has ever been confirmed by the Patriots. Quite possibly, Vrabel has stayed away rehabbing the shoulder and might not be able to take part in the strength program, or even get on the field to work with the defense. Like most NFL teams these days, the Chiefs are closed-mouth on the injury situation of their players.
So how big is the continued absence of guys like Waters and Vrabel? There’s no question that the Chiefs would prefer that both players take part in the programs and OTAs. That’s especially true on the defensive side, where the scheme is a new one, even for Vrabel coming in from New England.
But a check around the league shows other veteran players have stayed away from OTA sessions as well. Some are unhappy with their contracts or situations. Others just have not taken part in all the so-called voluntary work.
This past week, the best CB in the league Nnamdi Asomugha did not take part in the Raiders OTA sessions. In San Diego, RB LaDainian Tomlinson missed a couple of OTAs this week, supposedly dealing with family issues. That’s the same reason being given for Packers S Nick Collins missing the work in Green Bay, although he showed up this week for a team caravan around the state. Some Wisconsin media outlets have reported that Collins is unhappy with his contract.
The Falcons had OTAs this week without TE Tony Gonzalez, who in fact was in Kansas City for part of the week, working with the Shadow Buddies Foundation. In New Orleans, S Darren Sharper and TE Jeremy Shockey have missed OTA work, something head coach Sean Payton wasn’t happy about.
While WR Terrell Owens was in Buffalo t his past week for practices, Jets RB Thomas Jones boycotted the work with the Jets; also a contract situation. The same reason has kept returner Joshua Cribbs away from the Browns workouts. In Cincinnati, they haven’t seen WR Chad Ochocinco Johnson during their OTAs.
Franchise player designee CB Dunta Robinson hasn’t signed his tender and is not at the Texans workouts in Houston. LB Keith Bulluck missed two OTAs this week with the Titans in Nashville.
The Chiefs will not return to OTAs until June 1, but the players will continue to work in the strength and conditioning program in the week after Memorial Day.
SHOULD THE CHIEFS BE INTERESTED IN GREG ELLIS?
Last year playing OLB with the Dallas Cowboys, Greg Ellis (left) had eight sacks in 16 games.
The Chiefs defense last year had 10 sacks in 16 games.
With a switch to a hybrid 3-4 defense and no pass rushers added in the off-season, should Pioli/Haley be interested in the 12-year veteran? Probably not, given the way the personnel business has gone for the Chiefs in this off-season. But it’s something that should be considered by the new regime.
Ellis was told to stay away from this past week’s OTA sessions in Dallas, as the Cowboys are trying to trade him.
The 6-6, 262-pound former first-round draft choice has played in 162 games over his career and is on the downside of his career. That makes him no different than Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas, who the Chiefs have acquired in the off-season.
During his time in the NFL as both a defensive end and linebacker, Ellis has 77 sacks. No two players on the Chiefs roster have that many sacks combined.
Pioli/Haley have access to a lot of information on Ellis, via Bill Parcells. It was while Parcells was the head coach at Dallas that Ellis was moved to outside linebacker with the switch to a 3-4 scheme.
Given the Chiefs wealth of available cap space, a move on Ellis would be easy enough to do. He’s scheduled to make $4.15 million this year in the final season on his contract. The Cowboys are interested in getting rid of Ellis because they need to clear cap space for a new contract for younger OLB DeMarcus Ware.
SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …
Born on May 23, 1944 in New York was LB Ken Avery. He finished a nine-season pro career with 14 games and five starts with the Chiefs in 1975.
Born on the same day in Pittsburgh was OT Francis Peay. He was originally a second-round pick of the Chiefs in 1966, but signed to play in the NFL with the New York Giants. Peay finished his nine-season pro career with the Chiefs, playing in 19 games with 10 starts in the 1973-74 seasons.
Born on May 23, 1965 in Seattle was CB James Hasty
(right). He signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in 1995, and played six seasons with the team (1995-2000). He appeared in 95 games, with 89 starts. Hasty had 21 interceptions and six sacks.
Born on May 23, 1974 in Riverside, California was DE Duane Clemons. He joined the Chiefs for three seasons (2000-02), appearing in 44 games, with 43 stars. He had 16.5 sacks and scored a TD on a fumble return during the 2002 season.
Born on May 24, 1968 in Detroit was OT Tom Dohring. He was an eighth-round choice in the 1991 NFL Draft out of Michigan. Dohring played in three games for the Chiefs during the 1992 season, with one start.
Born on May 24, 1980 in Kalamazoo was DE Jason Babin. He joined the Chiefs for seven games during the 2008 season and contributed two sacks.
Born on May 25, 1954 in Memphis was LB Jimbo Elrod. He was a fifth-round choice of the Chiefs I n the 1976 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma. Elrod ended up spending three seasons with the Chiefs (1976-78), appearing in 36 games, with five starts. He had one interception.
Born on May 25, 1980 in New York was S Willie Pile. He was selected in the round by the Chiefs in the 2003 NFL Draft. He spent that rookie season with the team, appearing in 16 games with five starts.