CHIEFS NOTEBOOK

Chiefs’ McCluster leaves practice due to illness

Updated: 2013-08-22T19:50:20Z

By RANDY COVITZ

The Kansas City Star

A flu bug has been circulating through the Chiefs’ locker room, and the latest victim was wide receiver Dexter McCluster, who left the field during Thursday’s practice.

Earlier this week, defensive end Mike DeVito, safety Quintin Demps and safety Kendrick Lewis missed a day because of illness.

Tight end Travis Kelsey (knee), offensive lineman Donald Stephenson (shoulder) and defensive back Sanders Commings (collarbone) did not practice.

Cutdown looming

NFL teams will have to cut their rosters from 90 players to 75 next Tuesday, and the Chiefs’ brass is already huddling in anticipation of deciding who will be let go and who will survive for another week. The final cutdown to 53 players will be on Aug. 31.

Coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey evaluated players on Thursday afternoon, and Reid said, “as we get closer, we’ll start narrowing it down. Games are important … we’ll see how players come out of this game … how they execute. They’re being evaluated every day, every play … the games are a part of it.

“The thing you don’t want to do with camp … you have all these numbers, 90 kids here … and you don’t want to miss. You want to make sure you keep the best group of players you possibly can for that final cut, and it takes a little time to evaluate it.”

Familiar foe

The Chiefs will make their first trip ever to Pittsburgh for a preseason game and have met the Steelers just twice in preseason at Arrowhead Stadium.

But as the Eagles’ head coach, Reid faced the Steelers eight times in intrastate exhibition games, going 3-5, including a 24-23 win last season in Philadelphia.

“I enjoyed that little rivalry I guess you’d say,” Reid said. “Mike (Tomlin) and I are friends, and I know he preps his team hard and aggressive, and that’s always good in the preseason to have an opponent of that quality. I think our preseason schedule has been great. We finish up with Green Bay, and these are all good football teams we get to go against, and you want that.”

Reach Randy Covitz at rcovitz@kcstar.com or follow him on Twitter @Randycovitz

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