Kansas City Chiefs Successfully Shift Focus Off Tyreek Hill Absence But Not In A Great Way

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If the Kansas City Chiefs were looking to finally change the subject about losing receiver Tyreek Hill, whom they traded to the Miami Dolphins during the offseason, then Friday accomplished that.

But not necessarily in a good way.

When coach Andy Reid spoke with reporters at the team’s training camp at Missouri Western University he explained there are other topics that need attention — and two of those are attention grabbing in all the wrong ways.

Reid told reporters rookie receiver Justyn Ross recently underwent foot surgery and will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

“It was a little bit from the surgery that he had before. It was bothering him,” Reid said. “It wasn’t working quite the way he wanted so they went in and redid it. We’re hoping that this works out well.”

Reid said there’s no timetable for Ross to get cleared for practices, “but it’s going to take time,” he added.

No bueno.

After bursting onto the scene as perhaps Clemson’s best receiver in 2018 and ’19 as a freshman and sophomore, Ross missed the entire 2020 season due to a congenital fusion condition of his neck and spine that required surgery. He returned last season but injured his foot in November, which required the initial surgery Reid mentioned.

Primarily as a result of durability questions, Ross went undrafted in the April draft and must now answer those questions by returning to full health.

The return of starting left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is also a question mark for the Chiefs right now. He wasn’t among the players reporting to the club Friday (veterans report Tuesday) and Reid isn’t sure if Brown will be with the team at all during training camp.

“You know, I don’t know that,” Reid said. “I don’t know whether he is going to be here or not. If he’s here, great. If he’s not, we move on. That’s how we’ve done it in the past.”

Brown was tagged as Kansas City’s franchise player but wasn’t able to negotiate a longterm contract by the July 15 deadline and hasn’t signed his one-year tender. So he’s not compelled to report to camp and wouldn’t face fines if he doesn’t.

Indeed, Brown didn’t show up the entire offseason as he looked to become the highest-paid left tackle in the NFL.

All of this had Reid sounding like a man trying to make the best of a bad situation.

“This isn’t the first time I have been through something like this, so my thing is, we just go,” the coach said. “Whoever the next guy is, is going to step in there. We know Joe Thuney can do it in a heartbeat so if we need to go that direction, we can go that direction. We’ve got some new faces in there that can also do it.”

At one point Reid started talking about players moving on from their teams because of financial reasons — not a wonderful omen, by the way — and went way, way back to cite one such example.

“Yeah listen, things happen,” Reid said. “That’s the name of this game, where we are today, it has probably been that way for a number of years. You can go back to Babe Ruth moving to the Yankees from the Red Sox. I mean, a great player. This type of thing in professional sports goes on and you work through it. You work through it as a player, and you work through it as a team and move forward.”

Reid could not deny that the Chiefs are installing their offense, tweaks and all, and Brown will have to catch up if and when he shows up.

Patrick Mahomes, who did report on Friday with the team’s other quarterbacks, said he’s been in touch with Brown the entire offseason and is optimistic his blindside blocker will be ready once he’s in the fold — assuming nothing crazy like a trade happens.

“He’s one of the smartest football players I think I’ve ever played with,” Mahomes said. “He has a high IQ, I remember even when he wasn’t at OTAs he’s asking me questions, he’s watching the film, he’s doing everything to make sure that when he steps here, he’s ready to go.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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