Chiefs

Camp report: running back looks like a shared position for Chiefs

The Star’s Brooke Pryor reports on Damien Williams, Mo Claiborne from training camp

The Kansas City Star's Chiefs' beat writer discusses newly-acquired Morris Claiborne and Damien Williams during her daily report from training camp in St. Joseph, Mo.
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The Kansas City Star's Chiefs' beat writer discusses newly-acquired Morris Claiborne and Damien Williams during her daily report from training camp in St. Joseph, Mo.

In the offseason and into training camp, Damien Williams was characterized as the Chiefs’ starting running back.

That doesn’t appear to have changed, at least not based on Monday’s practice. In team drills, Williams was the first running back taking reps with the starters.

But others stepped in to take snaps with the starting offense. Williams isn’t expected to get the bulk of the workload, as he did to end last season.

Last week, coach Andy Reid said the position would operate more by committee. Others in the mix at the moment are Carlos Hyde, who started on Saturday against the Bengals, Darrel Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson.

Damien Williams said he’s good with the plan.

“I feel like at the end of the day, I’m just going to do what I do every day, come in and compete,” he said. “That’s what I’m here for. That’s my job.”

Williams has been limited during training camp. He missed more than a week of practices because of a hamstring injury. Williams returned to workouts last week but didn’t play in the preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Williams said he was pulling for his teammates while recovering.

“No one is here to chill or feel like you’re safe (with a roster spot),” Williams said. “But for me, those are my guys. I’m going to roll with them every day.”

This is Williams’ sixth NFL season. He had started four games with the Dolphins in his first five years and became the Chiefs’ starter last year after Kareem Hunt was dismissed and Spencer Ware was injured.

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy talks about running backs filling in for Damien Williams, the starter who has been out for a week with a hamstring injury.

In the final three regular-season games, Williams rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns. In two playoff starts, he rushed for a career-best 129 yards against the Colts and scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter against the Patriots.

Now, he’s one of the guys.

“We’re all here to compete,” Williams said.

At practice

Take your pick from the most impressive plays from Monday’s team drills.

Patrick Mahomes scrambled, took off right, reversed his field and found Sammy Watkins in the end zone with a sidearm pass on a play that drew big applause from the fans.

The other entry was also a pass launched by Mahomes but fell incomplete. He was going deep to Tyreek Hill and slightly overthrew him. What made this play special? Safety Juan Thornhill went stride for stride with Hill about 60 yards downfield.

In one situational drill, Thornhill ran with the first-team defense, ahead of Daniel Sorensen. Later, Thornhill intercepted Mahomes in the end zone in a situational drill. Bashaud Breeland also picked Mahomes along the sideline, one of two interceptions for Breeland on Monday.

Back at practice on Monday was defensive end Frank Clark, who didn’t play Saturday because of a wrist injury. Another defensive end, Alex Okafor, started practice but didn’t finish. He’s been nursing a hip injury.

Among those not practicing were defensive tackle Xavier Williams (back), fullback John Lovett (shoulder) and D’Montre Wade (knee contusion).

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