KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The second day of organized team activities (OTAs) concluded Wednesday with the Chiefs still down two Pro Bowl starters on defense.
Outside linebacker Justin Houston and cornerback Brandon Flower missed a second straight day. But at least with Houston, outside linebacker Tamba Hali didn’t sound concerned when asked if Houston would eventually return.
“As far as I know,” Hali said. “He will. We’re good friends. He’s coming.”
The OTAs are voluntary, but that didn’t stop a reporter from asking Hali if there was a specific reason for Houston’s absence.
“I don’t know why he’s not here,” Hali responded. “I hear the rumors, but that’s between him and whomever.”
The rumors Hali alludes to are Houston, who enters the final year of his contract, not being at OTAs based on a desire for a new contract, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Tuesday. When it comes to Flowers, speculation mounts of a pending trade or a release.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding their absences, defensive tackle Dontari Poe echoed Hali in not showing too much concern. Poe also isn’t worried over any lost time affecting Houston and Flowers.
“They’re professionals,” Poe said. “They know what they need to work on. Like we were saying, it’s the same scheme as last year, so they’re not learning anything new. As long as they come in and their bodies are in shape – and I know they’ve been working out – so it’ll be alright.”
Meanwhile, also not present for a second straight day were defensive tackle Risean Broussard (knee) and running back/specialist De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon quarter system). Rookie quarterback Aaron Murray, who was present Tuesday, missed Wednesday to attend a rookie symposium.
Wide receiver Kyle Williams (knee) returned after being absent Tuesday, but observed from the side and did not participate in organized drills. The same applied to tight end Travis Kelce (knee), who watched from the side wearing a white baseball cap.
Left tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder) appeared limited again. While Fisher participated in warm-ups and individual drills, he mostly observed when the Chiefs went to team-related drills, including 11-on-11.
Donald Stephenson filled in again at left tackle a second straight day, while J’Marcus Webb filled in at right tackle with the first unit. Jeff Linkenbach played right tackle with the first team on Tuesday.
Also of note, Rishaw Johnson continues to run with the first unit at right guard.
Coach Andy Reid did not address the media, but is scheduled for Thursday. The Chiefs wrap up the first set of OTAs Thursday before reporting for the second set June 3-5.
• During 11-on-11 drills, quarterback Alex Smith completed a pretty back-shoulder throw almost 20 yards from the line of scrimmage to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who made a sliding grab. Cornerback Marcus Cooper was in tight coverage, but the ball was perfectly placed.
• Marcus Cooper had what would’ve been a pick-6 on Smith in a live game. Smith’s intended target, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, slipped coming out of his break near the right sideline. Also during the play, rookie outside linebacker Dee Ford beat right tackle J’Marcus Webb and was applying outside pressure on Smith.
• Tight end Demetrius Harris carried over momentum from the final day of rookie minicamp to the first two days of OTAs. He turned in a strong performance Wednesday with athletic reception, diving or leaping, during the 11-on-11 portion.
• Marcus Cooper filled in for Brandon Flowers at outside cornerback during team drills. Free-agent signing, Chris Owens, defended mostly in the slot. Frank Zombo continues to fill in with the first team in Justin Houston’s absence.
• Rookie kicker Cairo Santos has a strong leg and consistently placed the ball in the back end of the end zone during special teams kickoff drills. Things could get interesting in training camp in a kicker battle between Santos and Ryan Succop.
Sticking up for her man
With the status of quarterback Alex Smith’s contract all over the map with the national media, Smith’s wife, Elizabeth, chimed in with a tweet directed to Evan Silva of NBC Sports and Ian Rappoport of the NFL Network:
“Although I find this comical.. You are clearly misinformed!! Your “source” is leading you astray,” she tweeted.