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Chiefs training camp notebook: Andy Reid surprised by Chris Jones’ absence

The head coach sounded disappointed about the holdout of his star defensive tackle.

AFC Championship - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs held their first full-team practice on Sunday morning, inviting fans for their first look in St. Joseph ahead of the 2023 season.

The arrivals of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, running back Isiah Pacheco and linebacker Willie Gay Jr. were met with the loudest roars from the crowd, sparking thoughts of what it might sound like when defensive tackle Chris Jones walked down the hill. But that did not happen on Sunday — and right now, the team isn’t sure when it will happen.

“As far as Chris goes, we’ll just see how things go here down the road,” said head coach Andy Reid as he spoke to media members following practice on Sunday. “There had been communication. We’ll see where it goes from here, and... if you’re not here, we just keep moving; that’s how we roll. We don’t worry a lot about that. We let it take care of itself — and we got great people working on that, so I’m not worried about that.”

Jones, who is entering the final year of his four-year contract and seeking a new one, failed to report to St. Joseph by Saturday morning — when the players on campus passed their conditioning test. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that he has been told the two sides are “far apart” in negotiations, which has led to the holdout.

Some have speculated that Jones could be asking for top-of-the-market money, which would be in the range of Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s $31.67 million per season — or just under that number.

In Jones’ absence, Derrick Nnadi and former Kansas Jayhawk Daniel Wise worked with the first team at defensive tackle.

Asked about Jones’ decision, Reid admitted it did surprise him. The head coach sounded disappointed that communication between the two sides had come to a halt.

“It’s been good up to just a bit ago, so they’re doing their thing,” said Reid. “We’re doing our thing — and we’ll just see where it goes from there.”

Chiefs owner, CEO and chairman Clark Hunt said he isn’t directly involved in the talks, leaving those to general manager Brett Veach. But Hunt remains eager to resolve the situation.

“We love Chris, and when he decides to report, we’ll welcome him,” said Hunt. “I don’t want to get into speculating on when that will happen or if it will happen.”

Safety Justin Reid, now in his second season in Kansas City, said that he has not been in communication with Jones.

“Chris Jones is a great player, excellent player; his tape speaks for itself,” said the safety. “The situation is what it is right now, and we’re excited to see young guys come in and put on some tape. It’s a good opportunity for those guys to really show what they got.”

Hunt explained the Chiefs don’t have any particular strategy tied to not committing to such a number; they just want to ensure they can still fill out a championship roster.

“We really don’t think about it in the context of who’s the highest-paid player in the league,” said Hunt. “We think about it in the context of the Kansas City Chiefs and what’s best for the organization — not only this year but as we go forward. One of the challenges in the National Football League is the salary cap, and it makes it tough to keep a championship team together.

“That’s something that Brett and his staff are really focused on. I think they’ve done a fantastic job, and that’s just how we’re going to view it going forward.”

As Jones continues to hold out, he will be fined $50,000 a day, a figure that can add up quickly. Perhaps that pushes him to show up sooner rather than later. Still, based on the statements from the club on Sunday, that idea appears in serious doubt.


You can find my complete observations from Sunday’s practice here.

Post-practice chat

Press conferences

If you can’t see the above (Apple iTunes) embed, click here. The press conference is also available on Spotify.

Injury report

  • Did not practice (due to injury): OL Wanya Morris (hamstring)
  • Limited: RB Isiah Pacheco (hand, labrum)
  • Left practice early: WR Kadarius Toney (knee)
  • Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: DT Tershawn Wharton (ACL)

Tweet of the day

Our John Dixon compiled all of Sunday’s tweets here. Here is the tweet of the day:

Have to love the confidence if you’re a Chiefs fan.

Quote of the day

Chiefs safety Justin Reid on his favorite memory from training camp last year: “Probably when it broke — and I got to go home.”

What’s next?

The Chiefs return to the practice field on Monday morning for Season Ticket Member Day; it is not open to the public. The practice begins at 9:15 a.m. Arrowhead Time. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is scheduled to address the media following the workout as the full team signs autographs. Here’s the complete 2023 training camp schedule.

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