Back to work for Chiefs players

July 23, 2014; St. Joseph, MO; Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali reports for training camp. Credit: Matt Derrick,
July 23, 2014; St. Joseph, MO; Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali reports for training camp. Credit: Matt Derrick,

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Chiefs veterans arrived early Wednesday afternoon in a steady stream for training camp.

While it’s reasonable to expect the late-summer grind in sweltering heat to temper enthusiasm, the players, for the most part, had smiles on their faces as they returned to work.

“It’s good to be back,” ninth-year outside linebacker Tamba Hali said as he walked by reporters carrying bedding items.

Hali’s enthusiasm was shared by younger players, such as second-year center Eric Kush.

“I already have a year on the books of the offensive work, what to expect here,” Kush said. “It’s going to be a heck of a lot of fun this time around knowing what’s going on and just get after it.”

Third-year wide receiver Junior Hemingway, who is set to compete at slot receiver, echoed Kush.

“I think it is going to be a great camp this year,” Hemingway said. “Coming in knowing what to expect. It is a lot of guys’ second year in the program and offense, defense, things like that. So the younger guys, we got some good talent coming in – guys that are going to help this team get to where we need to be.”

The Chiefs come off an 11-5 season and a playoff berth after posting a disastrous 2-14 record in 2012.

And while the 2013 campaign ended in a bitter postseason loss, the Chiefs hope to learn from that experience and apply it to the 2014 season with the current roster.

“There’s so much excitement of what happened last season and the shuffling around of players,” Kush said. “We’ve got a new team and we’re going to see what this team can do and what we can do together.”

Hali agreed.

“Our goals are set,” he said. “There’s only one goal we set – to get to the championship game. That’s our mindset. We have to just take it a day at a time.”

The Chiefs’ first practice as a  full team arrives Thursday afternoon.

Day 3 rookies, quarterbacks training camp practice observations

[NOTE: Unlike the previous two days, observations are based on the team’s stretching and warm-up period only.]

• The Chiefs had 31 players present on the practice field.

• Players not present were quarterbacks Alex Smith and Chase Daniel, fullback James Baker (personal) and linebacker DeRon Furr (back). Baker also missed the previous two days, while Furr missed Tuesday.

• Smith and Daniel were excused from practice, leaving second-year pro Tyler Bray and rookie Aaron Murray as the quarterbacks for the morning practice.

• Running back Joe McKnight (knee, PUP list) and cornerback David Van Dyke (hamstring, PUP list) continue to observe practice from the sidelines without helmets.

• Rookie cornerback Phillip Gaines has a hamstring injury and did not practice. The team’s third-round pick joined McKnight and Van Dyke on the sidelines.