Tamba Hali wasn't getting into specifics about Justin Houston's absence from Kansas City Chiefs OTAs but Hali did say he believes Houston, who has so far skipped the first two days of OTAs, will return to the team.
"As far as I know, he will [come back]," Hali told reporters on Wednesday, via quotes sent out by the Chiefs. "We're good friends. He's coming."
A "good friend" who says he's coming back is a better source for a story than plenty of other NFL reports I've seen.
Houston is entering the final year of his contract which will pay him just over $1 million, way underpaid by anyone's estimation. The working theory for his absence is related to his contract but I can't say I've heard anything from Houston or his camp on any specifics.
"I don't know why he's not here," Hali continued. "I hear the rumors, but that's between him and whoever."
The rumors are that this is about Houston's contract. Back in February it was reported Houston and the Chiefs were talking about a contract extension. Along with Alex Smith's new deal, that's one of the priorities for the Chiefs over the next year. Houston is young with lots of production already, which means he is going to cash in. It's hard to see him getting less than the 5-year, $60 million deal Hali agreed to in 2011, right? Just to give you a ballpark idea of the numbers here.
It's only May and the defensive scheme isn't changing as Dontari Poe pointed out.
"They're professionals," Dontari Poe said, via quotes from the Chiefs. "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."
No one screws up in a game and blames it on missing practices in May and June so it's too early to be worrying about this. Perhaps training camp becomes more of a concern but even then Houston knows this defense.