Alex Smith arrives in St. Joe for first camp with Chiefs

07/22/2013 3:50 PM

07/23/2013 10:18 AM

Forgive Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith if he feels like one of the rookies he joined for the opening of training camp on Monday afternoon.

Smith, who spent his first seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, has never left home for training camp. The 49ers are one of the 20 NFL teams that train at their year-round facility.

“Camp is camp,” said Smith, who checked in at Missouri Western State University straight from playing in the American Century Golf Championship at Stateline, Nev. “But this is my first time going away for camp.”

Smith was eager to get on the field Tuesday, even though it will be with about 40 rookies, first-year players and selected veterans coming off injuries, most of whom will not crack the 53-man roster.

“I think it’s great,” Smith said, “because we’ve had six weeks off, and as far as the quarterbacks go, we can work out and we can throw to receivers, but you can’t really simulate seven-on-seven or 11 on 11, so it’s a few days of work to get back into things, so when the rest of the guys get here, we’re already hitting the ground running.”

In addition to the quarterbacks, rookies and first-year players, the Chiefs received permission from the league to include several veterans who missed the team’s offseason program because of injury, including tight end Tony Moeaki (knee), running back Shaun Draughn (sports hernia) and wide receivers Donnie Avery (ankle) and Junior Hemingway, who spent all but one week on the practice squad last year.

Smith, who led the 49ers to the NFC championship game in 2011 and started nine games for San Francisco’s Super Bowl team a year ago, has a short-term goal for his first season with the Chiefs.

“Win the first game,” he said. “I’m not looking beyond that. Set your sights on Jacksonville. That’s it.”

Though the Chiefs went 2-14 last season, Smith is aware expectations are high for the club after it hired Andy Reid as head coach and acquired Smith as the starting quarterback.

“Every team in the NFL has positive expectations right now,” Smith said. “Every single one. It’s no different anywhere. Everyone is coming into camp. It’s a fresh start, it’s a new beginning for everybody. It’s what teams are going to put in the work and take the steps necessary to get better and start winning games.”

Smith was encouraged by what he saw during the Chiefs’ offseason workouts and mini-camp and hopes it carries over into training camp and beyond.

“I thought it was an extremely hungry group,” Smith said. “I think the entire locker room is hungry. Expectations are high, and those are good things. The fun part now is we get the pads on and we’ll get to real football.”

Actually, because of the recent collective bargaining agreement, the Chiefs won’t don full pads until Sunday. But Reid promises a physical camp, even though the era of two-a-day practices is a thing of the past.