The smile was barely contained on Glenn Dorsey’s face.
It’s been a long time since anybody was so excited about getting back to an off-season football practice.
But on Thursday in the Chiefs OTA session, Dorsey was able to work with the full squad for the first time since the workouts started. No longer was he exiled to the rehab field.
“I’m so glad to be off that field and back in practice,” Dorsey said afterwards. “I’m telling you, there’s nobody that wants to be on that (rehab) field. Nobody.”
Not surprisingly, the Chiefs are taking on the attitude about injuries that stems from the Bill Parcells School of Coaching. Parcells doesn’t have anything written down, so to paraphrase the Big Tuna’s thoughts on injured players is this: he doesn’t believe in them. If there’s not a bone sticking out, or evidence of a ligament being torn in half, then it’s not an injury.
Muscle pulls? Forget about it. Sprains? You’ve got to be kidding. Sore? No kidding, take an aspirin and get back out there.
There is no question that injuries are part of the game of football. There’s also no question that teams that win divisions, conferences and Super Bowls tend to have fewer players sitting out because of football related health problems. Conversely, teams that don’t win tend to have injuries that have lengthy rehab periods.
There are ways to combat the minor injuries that come with the game of football, and that’s what Todd Haley has been drilling his team on since this off-season program started.
That’s why after practice on Thursday, the Chiefs ran and ran and ran. That’s why the team has lost 338 pounds since the start of the off-season program. That’s why players who can’t participate because of injury end up working harder on the rehab field than the guys in the practice.
What Haley is trying to do is build strength, build endurance, but also build a mindset that overcomes the sprains, pulls, bruises and contusions that come with the game.
On Thursday, QB Brodie Croyle, RB Kolby Smith and DT Ron Edwards were not the only players who had physical problems on the field. They were the ones that had to rehab with the strength and conditioning coaches. There were players in the practice who probably in another year or situation would have been watching and not taking part. DT Tank Tyler is bothered by a sore knee. He spent a few days on the rehab field, but hasn’t been back.
Nobody wants any part of that field.
“It doesn’t look like a lot of fun,” Haley said of what happens on the rehab field, “Which is the idea. (Dorsey) He has been working really hard over there and he has been chomping at the bit to get into the action.
“Quite frankly, that is the way we like it. We would like it to be a little more fun to practice than to be on the rehab field.”
Those players forced to rehab generally start out on stationary bikes. But they aren’t just cruising through the pedals, reading a magazine or watching soap operas. Coaches Cedric Smith and Brent Salazar stand there with a stop watch, timing their work and effort. After that, they may push a weighted sled contraption for awhile, or pick up a barbell or hand weights and carry them the length of a football field, and then back. There can be sprints and longer runs around the field.
Everything is done under the supervision of Smith and Salazar, so there’s no shirking, no goofing around and no cutting corners.
There’s also no fun.
“It’s miserable over there,” said OLB Turk McBride, who spent a few early practices on the rehab team due to his surgically repaired shoulder. “You work harder than you do in practice, but you aren’t in practice. You don’t get anything football out of it.
“It’s necessary, but you don’t want any part of that bike patrol.”
So far, and that knocking sound you heard was Haley finding a piece of wood, the Chiefs are just a week away from the end of their off-season program and they’ve not suffered any major injuries. Or even in this case, any debilitating minor injuries. Edwards would be the only exception. His injury has never been identified publicly, but appears to be an upper leg problem.
Of course, all of this comes without real football having been played or practice. When bodies collide, injuries happen with far more frequency. That’s doesn’t really come into play until training camp, which figures to be more physical than what the Chiefs have experienced over the last three years.
But Todd Haley is hoping that a well-conditioned team both physically and mentally, won’t feel the pain quite as much, or quite as often.
UFL WILL TAKE VICK, BUT NOT PACMAN
Speaking this week, United Football League Commissioner Michael Huyghue said the league that will begin operation later this year with a four-team, six-game schedule, would welcome the disgraced Michael Vick, but they aren’t interested in the disgraced Pacman Jones.
“To the extent that Michael Vick becomes available we will look very closely into bringing him into our league — not only because our fan-survey poll was abundantly in favor of allowing him to come back but because we think it might be the right kind of buffer for a player like that to go back to the NFL,” Huyghue told Clark Judge of CBSsports.com. “He’s certainly an exciting player, and there will be a lot of interest in him. But the protocol is to wait for him to be released from his NFL contract. If he is, we will undergo measures to see if we can get him to play in our league.”
The NFL has made no decision on Vick’s future in that league and won’t until his home confinement is over and his sentence on the dog fighting charges is completed.
Pacman is another matter.
“I think that would be difficult,” Huyghue said. “On the one hand to say Michael Vick could come in and Pacman couldn’t (that) might seem a bit contradictory, but I think we have to look at each one — and I think the coaches will set the tone for that.
“For example, (New York coach) Ted Cottrell said his first priority is that he doesn’t want any bad apples. I’m not trying to demean Pacman Jones. I happen to know him to some degree from a personal background. But, in general, those aren’t the players we’re looking for.”
SIGNINGS & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE
BILLS – released OL Joel Bell, LB Blake Costanzo, DT John Faletoese, DB Kyle Ward and DE Gerald Washington.
BRONCOS – released WR Travis Shelton, LB Braxton Kelley and OT Marcus Gordon.
BUCS – signed fifth-round draft choice OT Xavier Fulton.
CARDINALS – signed seventh-round choice G Trevor Canfield.
EAGLES – agreed to a new contract with QB Donovan McNabb, released QB Adam DiMichele, RB Rashard Walter Mendenhall and DT Amon Gordon.
JAGUARS – released CB Will James and TE Charles Davis.
JETS – released TE Martrez Milner.
PATRIOTS – released FB Patrick Pass, signed fourth-round draft choice OL Rich Ohrnberger,
REDSKINS – signed draft picks LB Cody Glenn (5th round) and FB Eddie Williams (7th round).
TEXANS – agreed to terms with QB Rex Grossman (Bears).
SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …
Born on June 12, 1934 in Kirbyville, Pennsylvania was C Jim Barton. A member of the original Dallas Texans, he played in 14 games during the 1960 season. The next year he moved to the Denver Broncos where he played for two seasons.