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What we learned about the Chiefs this week

Taking a look at the week of August 17 on Arrowhead Pride...

Kansas City Chiefs Media Availability Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Travis Kelce pens note to Kansas City as he announces first purchase after contract

On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end announced he was partnering with Operation Breakthrough to give underserved teenagers a chance to improve at science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

I am excited to announce I am purchasing the building that will be the future home of the “Ignition Lab: Powered by 87&Running” - a co-working space where these teens will have the support, resources, and opportunity to explore careers in STEM, launch their own entrepreneurial ventures and gain real-world experience.

As a kid I was mindful of how life looked different for everyone, but as a man I am profoundly aware of the difference in opportunity, exposure, and privilege I grew up with compared to others. Where you live, the situation you were born into or the color of your skin should have no impact on the dreams you can dream. And it’s a beautiful thing when a kid’s dream comes true.

Eric Bieniemy on Patrick Mahomes: ‘He’s a competitive prick’

A year ago last May, the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator made headlines when he gave a surprise announcement that Damien Williams would be the team’s starting running back in 2019. On Saturday, he made his offseason headlines in a somewhat different way.

“You guys have been around him — you know him,” said Bieniemy. “He’s a competitive prick. OK? He’s a great kid, but he’s a competitive prick. He wants to improve at everything he could possibly improve upon. He wants to be the best at whatever he can do. And along the way, he wants to make sure that he’s leading the guys, he wants to be held accountable by his peers, but also, too — he just wants to work. And that’s what you love about being around him every single day.”

The Chiefs quarterback drew comparisons to Michael Jordan this offseason, when with no live sports to watch, fans took in ESPN’s “The Last Dance.” It is fair to say that Jordan also had a little “competitive prick” in him — something that helped him lead the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is welcomed to the NFL by Frank Clark at Chiefs practice

Bieniemy also told us about something that happened during the team’s Saturday training camp session, when the Chiefs’ star defensive end took the wood to the first-round rookie running back.

“That’s football,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy began when asked about the big hit that defensive end Frank Clark laid on rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Saturday’s practice. “Frank got him, he tagged him a little bit, welcomed the rookie in. That’s part of the game.”

Bieniemy also laughed off a comparison head coach Andy Reid had made between Edwards-Helaire and him.

“Well if coach (Reid) said that, I’m going to take that as the highest of compliments, cause he’s a lot quicker than me and can do a whole lot more than what I did coming out.”

Third day of practice: Chiefs cornerback tears ACL; likely to miss season

Sunday’s session ended the season for a reserve corner for whom the Chiefs had high hopes — and put the starting left tackle on the sidelines for a while.

Following practice, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid confirmed previous reports that reserve cornerback Alex Brown has suffered a torn ACL. The promising second-year corner — who started on last season’s practice squad but had made to to the active roster by the Super Bowl — will presumably miss the season. Reid also said rookie cornerback Lavert Hill missed practice with a strained hamstring.

Left tackle Eric Fisher walked off the practice field with an injury. Mike Remmers took his place on the first team (via The Athletic). Reid said that Fisher is now in concussion protocol.

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are two of Alex Smith’s greatest fans

Sunday also brought news that the former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had been activated from PUP by the Washington Football Team — and the Chiefs’ head coach and quarterback talked about it.

“How great is that? I’m so happy for him,” Reid told reporters on Sunday after the team’s third padded practice of training camp. “He’s dirty tough. He loves playing the game; he didn’t want it to end the way it ended with the leg. So he’s back. We all saw the “E:60” special and the rehab that he went through — that day-in and day-out grind of the rehab. I’m very, very happy for him. I’m happy for the Washington team, too.”

“It’s an amazing thing,” Mahomes said on Sunday. “I texted Alex before the season — before training camp got going. Him just being there and being able to be cleared by his doctors — and now getting cleared by Washington’s doctors — being out there and being able to perform shows the grit that he has. He’s someone that helped me out a ton in my career — and he’s always persevered. I expect him to keep persevering as his career goes on.”

Steve Spagnuolo reveals Mike Pennel will serve suspension to begin season

The Chiefs’ defensive coordinator may have been talking out of school on Monday, but it didn’t matter: the news was out.

Spagnuolo didn’t reveal the reason for the suspension — or how long it will last.

Pennel was released by the Green Bay Packers after the 2016 season, after having served two four-game suspensions — one to begin the season, and another to end it. Both were for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. After two seasons with the New York Jets, Pennel came to the Chiefs last season, gaining an immediate reputation as a solid player against the run.

Three potential surprises to make the Chiefs’ 53-man roster

On Monday’s Arrowhead Pride Laboratory podcast, the AP Nerd Squad discussed three players who might be on the team when the season opens on September 10.

Safety Rodney Clemons

The undrafted free agent and Lottery Ticket is competing for a spot on one of the thinnest position groups on the Chiefs roster. With Juan Thornhill’s availability at the beginning of the year yet to be determined and unimpressive group competing for the final safety spot, Clemons could find himself on the roster Week 1. Clemons will have to show out on special teams and earn the trust of coordinator Dave Toub. If he can prove enough in the hidden third, beating out Armani Watts is a reasonable expectation for Clemons.

Three minor Chiefs transactions come through on Wednesday

First we learned that wide receiver (and special-teams ace) Marcus Kemp was back with the Chiefs. Since the team was already one over the 80-man limit, moves had to be made.

The Kansas City Chiefs had three transactions come through on the wire Wednesday evening:

Safety Juan Thornhill passed his physical.

The Chiefs waived wide receiver Aleva Hifo.

The Chiefs waived wide receiver Andre Baccellia.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid noted that Thornhill participated in practice Wednesday in a limited capacity. The Chiefs had just brought back Hifo, but he had to be released to get the roster down to 80. Baccellia, a 5-foot-10 receiver from Washington, faced an uphill battle in making the Chiefs’ roster in a deep wide receiver room.

Sixth practice day: Tyreek Hill leaves practice

Thursday’s team practice brought unwlecome news — particularly since wide receiver Sammy Watkins had been missing practices with a hamstring issue.

The big news is that star wide receiver Tyreek Hill left practice about midway through the session with an apparent leg injury, which happened when he pulled up after catching a long pass in a 1-on-1 drill (via ESPN). He walked off the field — where trainers appeared to be looking at his right leg — and then went inside. He did not return (via Kansas City Star). The Chiefs later said it was a hamstring issue.

NFL Network reports update on Tyreek Hill’s status

But by Friday, we had a report that Hill’s injury wasn’t serious.

Supporters of the Kansas City Chiefs were alarmed with the news that wide receiver Tyreek Hill left practice early on Thursday due to a hamstring issue. Those concerned can breathe a sigh of a relief thanks to a report from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Thursday night.

As Garafolo notes, the team could play it safe, which would match my expectation. I’d anticipate Hill getting at least Friday off, if not more. At this stage of his career, he could do more harm than good by participating in training camp while he has an injured hamstring, even if the injury is concerned minor.