Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who earlier this year predicted he would lead the NFL in receiving in 2013, failed to get on the practice field Friday for the first day of training camp.
Coach Andy Reid said Bowe, the Chiefs’ leading receiver for the past four seasons, had a virus.
“I think he’s going to be back pretty quick,” Reid said. “We’ll see how he feels. He was congested in the chest.”
Bowe, who caught 59 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns last season, missed the last three games after suffering broken ribs. Reid said there was no correlation to the rib injury and a the virus in Bowe’s chest.
Bowe, 28, played last season as the club’s franchise player, and last spring signed a five-year contract worth up to $56 million. He was a regular participant in the Chiefs’ offseason program and showed no effects from the rib injury.
Dexter McCluster, normally a slot receiver, and second-year man Junior Hemingway took most of the plays with the first unit in place of Bowe.
“You’d love to have everybody out here,” quarterback Alex Smith said, “but things are going to happen. Guys have to step up. Dwayne’s going to be all right. He’ll be fine. We have a lot of time in front ahead of us. Obviously we want him back as soon as possible, but I want him healthy, most of all.
“Today is not the most important day. Jacksonville (the season opener) is what we’re looking for, and that’s the goal to get everyone healthy by then.”
Meanwhile, Bowe spent two portions of practice beyond the sidelines practicing yoga moves under the direction of an assistant trainer.
Bowe, the club’s first-round draft pick in 2007, has three seasons of 1,000 yards in his career, and he went to the Pro Bowl following the 2010 season when he caught a 72 passes for a career-best 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns, second most in the NFL.
“Dwayne’s going to be here,” McCluster said. “He’s a competitor, he’s not going to go anywhere. But as athletes, as football players, we have to step up if we don’t have that guy.”