KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs prepared for Sunday's showdown with the New England Patriots without two of their top three running backs, but the club also welcomed back an old friend to the practice field.
With Damien Williams (rib) and Darrel Williams (hamstring) out of commission for the time being, the Chiefs re-signed free agent running Spencer Ware to the club. Ware spent the past four seasons with the club, and it's the familiarity that appeals to head coach Andy Reid.
“He doesn't have to learn, he doesn't have to go through that whole thing,” Reid said. “He can come in, and it looks like he's in pretty good shape.”
While Darrel Williams appears likely out against the Patriots on Sunday, the Chiefs haven't closed the book on Damien Williams possibly returning this weekend. But the Chiefs want to find out in the next few days the status of Ware's football fitness and what work load he could possibly contribute.
“He hasn't played football, but he's in pretty good shape,” Reid said. “It's important that he practices hard and does all that. And then we'll see. We'll at the end of the week how it fits in. He's not going to be your starter and go out and play every down, that's not what he's doing. But we'll see, we'll how it all works out.”
The Chiefs have deployed a running back by committee approach, and that doesn't appear likely to change. The loss of both Williamses deprives the Chiefs of their favorite third-down backs, however. Ware's return provides a back with whom the Chiefs trust running with the ball and catching passes out of the backfield while also picking up blitzes and providing pass protection when needed, according to quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“You don't have to worry about him having to figuring out protections because he's been in this offense and understands, and he's played against this team and he understands how to help you out in the backfield protection wise as well,” Mahomes said.
Cornerbacks Morris Claiborne (shoulder) and Rashad Fenton (hamstring) both also sat our practice Wednesday. Their availability for Sunday remains uncertain.
Defensive end Frank Clark (shoulder) participated in a limited role on Wednesday, but the club expects him to play against the Patriots barring any further complications or setbacks.
Chiefs Practice Report
Did not practice: RB Damien Williams (rib), RB Darrel Williams (hamstring), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder) and CB Rashad Fenton (hamstring)
Limited participation: DE Frank Clark (shoulder)
Full participation: LT Eric Fisher (groin), CB Kendall Fuller (thumb), WR Tyreek Hill (hamstring), S Jordan Lucas (shoulder), QB Patrick Mahomes (knee), DT Derrick Nnadi (elbow) and DE Alex Okafor (ankle)
Patriots Practice Report
Did not practice: OL Byron Cowart (head) and OL Ted Karras (knee)
Limited participation: LB Ja'Whaun Bentley (knee), OT Marcus Cannon (illness), S Patrick Chung (heel), WR Julian Edelman (shoulder), CB Jason McCourty (groin) and WR Mohamed Sanu (ankle)
Full participation: QB Tom Brady (toe/right elbow)