The Chiefs have three key players — running back Jamaal Charles, outside linebacker Tamba Hali and safety Eric Berry — who have not played during the preseason but have been practicing.
Of the group, it appears Charles — who is rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament — is the furthest away from being ready for the Chiefs’ season opener Sept. 11 against San Diego at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I would tell you that, in that order, Eric Berry would be ready to go, Tamba second and Jamaal might need some more time to get himself back,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday.
When asked directly if he does not see Charles playing against the Chargers, Reid stopped short.
“I’m not saying that,” Reid said. “But of the three, he’s the furthest away. We’ll see how he does after a couple days off here.”
Charles has been participating in practice for a few weeks, mainly with the reserves. He has not been hit yet and has just been running through the non-contact portion of practice.
In the meantime, Spencer Ware, who rushed 72 times for 403 yards and six touchdowns last year, appears to be the No. 1 back. He’s consistently earned far more work in that spot than any other back on the roster, including Charcandrick West, and the 5-foot-10, 229-pounder has been good this preseason, rushing 24 times for 85 yards and a team-high three touchdowns.