ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The eruption ignited last weekend by linebacker Tamba Hali’s comments about his playing time and team leaders participating in offseason workouts cooled Friday, with Hali and his teammates sending the message that there are no hard feelings among the veterans.
“I’m a competitor, Hali said. “I want to compete. It’s not about starting, it’s not about who’s better on our team. We’re a team. I just want to be included and I don’t want to feel like they’re just going to phase me out.”
Hali said he grew frustrated last season because of a disconnect between what he was told regarding playing time and his actual snap counts. He said head coach Andy Reid assures him his role will be more clearly defined for the 2017 season.
“I feel like I can still play,” Hali said. “That was my rant, that’s why I went on a rant because I know I can still play, I just don’t know how the team wants to use me.”
The 12-year veteran also made remarks about team leaders not participating in offseason workouts. Hali extended his Twitter remarks during an interview on the Arrowheads Abroad podcast.
“Whoever is on our team expected to be a leader, we need those guys there,” Hali said on the podcast. “Because the younger guys there come in and see these guys and say, ‘Well, I want to be like him. He’s here, he has a lot of money. But he’s here and he’s working with the team.’ It builds such chemistry for our team.”
Hali did not name any names but the team’s highest paid defensive players, linebacker Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry, both skipped voluntary offseason workouts.
Berry and Hali met in the locker room before practice and cleared the air between the two team leaders. He said he took no offense from Hali’s remarks.
“I don’t want to hear it from different people,” Berry said. “I want to hear it straight from the source. We talked about it. He just told me what he felt and we’re good.”
Houston also dismissed any idea of a rift between Hali and himself.
“That’s my brother,” Houston said. “We know what’s going on between us and we know where stand. There’s nothing but love between us.”
Hali said if he had to do it over again, he would handle the situation differently.
“I probably would have contacted coach just to figure it out behind closed doors,” Hali said, “because I think it got blown out of proportion based on the fact that we have training camp and we are getting ready for the Super Bowl champs.”