Outside linebacker Dee Ford became the latest Chiefs defensive starter to miss an offseason practice, as he was absent for the sixth of 10 voluntary organized team activity sessions Thursday.
The Chiefs have had a handful of absences throughout offseason camp, including safety Eric Berry, outside linebacker Justin Houston and cornerback Marcus Peters, all of whom have yet to participate in any of the Chiefs’ offseason practices.
When asked about the absence of those three last week, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said these practices are voluntary and said he was aware that all three would be gone.
But when asked about Ford’s absence Thursday, Reid spoke forcefully, expressing frustration at the prospect of consistently fielding questions about missing players.
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“Voluntary camp, man,” Reid said. “Don’t worry about all that, it’s a voluntary camp. That’s how I’m going to answer it every time you ask. Understand that.”
Reid also said that the Chiefs, under NFL rules, only have to make one practice open per week to reporters, not the three they currently allow. He added that if he gets “pummeled” with questions about the missing players, they’ll just open one practice per week.
With Justin Houston missing from organized team activities, and Tamba Hali present but only observing, Ford and Frank Zombo have been the most experienced players at their position during OTAs.
Other players competing for time at the position include Earl Okine, 27, Reshard Cliett, 25, and Marcus Rush, 25.
But while Ford, who led the Chiefs with 17 quarterback hurries and 10 sacks last season, was not present, the Chiefs did add another contributor to the mix Thursday, as No. 2 tight end Demetrius Harris returned to action after missing the previous two practices.
The Chiefs were aware of his absence, a team spokesman said, which was because of a personal matter.